Photo taken by Nicole Kaczenski of en shell

I just welcomed year 31 here on this planet earth.  I’m happy to report that I am going into this next year with an overwhelming feeling of contentment and appreciation of life. I’m feeling super freakin’ grateful right now for all the zig-zags that have led me to where I am now. My hubby and I were chatting on the phone with my mom-in-law this morning, and she mentioned a very important fact that I haven’t necessarily thought about before. She mentioned that our lives here in New Zealand have been a lot of moments where we “have had nothing and have turned into something special”, and wowww that really hit home. I didn’t think that at age 31, I would hardly have any physical possessions, would be living in a tiny studio apartment with my husband, and also sharing a 20-year-old car that was on the verge of breaking down at any given moment, but here I am… and I am feeling damn grateful for it. I feel so content with what I have, yet I still have so much appreciation for a future that I don’t even know exists yet. I’m grateful for my ambition to accomplish goals and looking back, I’m proud of myself for goals that I have met even though at the time, I don’t think I was fully aware that the goal-achieving was even taking place. I think my little girl self would be pretty psyched on my adult version self, which is a hugely rewarding feeling.

As of late, a ritual that I have been trying to make room for is taking more time to self-reflect and shine gratitude on all the little things and moments that light me up. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to actually acknowledge those times where I don’t seem to have a care in the world. I’ve been making a weekly routine to sit down, with incense lit, and write in my journal about those positive instances that make a difference in my day and week. I write down things that I am grateful for, the things that I am proud of myself for, and I set intentions towards steps and paths that I want to take soon. It really has been making a huge difference in me feeling centered and level headed during this limbo-land of uncertainty that I am currently experiencing. To me, it’s a way of practicing the art of surrendering and letting go so that I can be fully submerged in the beauty that is taking place right at this present time.

Below are a few personal images from the past few months and a fun collage I made of some moments, objects, and feelings that just make me feel full. Reflecting back, I am feeling quite proud of myself for making moves towards creating a life I’ve always dreamt of, and for that, I feel pretty damn cool.

Image on left: seashells collected on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. | Image on right: recently thrifted blouse.

Image on left: the eve of my wedding day in Cayucos, CA. | Image on right: polaroid taken in Gisborne, New Zealand.

A collage of meaningful moments, phrases that pack power in my current day-to-day, and a mix of imagery that portray my current state of gratitude.