Living My Life Through A Lens

01c28cce5c40e4f327841f91f75805ed.jpgThere is a reason I choose to live my life behind the lens of a camera. Photos are how I relive some of the best moments of my life. Anybody who knows me knows that I am constantly taking pictures of something, whether it be my dog, my coffee, my food, my friends, my family, my boyfriend, leaves in the fall, the sky…I’m usually taking a picture of something, somewhere. I sometimes will do crazy things just to get a good sitting on top of the 2000-year-old aqueduct in Segovia, Spain or laying on the ground in Barcelona. I am also what is known as a “photo hoarder” meaning I have a hard time deleting photos because you never know when it could be used and looked back upon for some significant reason or another. I live my life through the photos I take.

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It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and truly taken the time to write out my thoughts. And honestly, the only reason I am doing it right now is because I am bored out of my mind. 

But, what else is to be expected when I just spent the last semester traveling through Europe? I miss it. As anybody would. Almost every day, I look back through all of my photos and reminisce the best semester of my entire life. I miss the freedom. I miss having the ability to just hop on a plane or train or bus on the weekends and head off on a new adventure. I miss only having class for a couple hours a day and then being able to go and explore places not yet familiar to me. I miss not having to work all the time and feeling like I could afford life. And as I sit on my bedroom floor in Middle-Of-Nowhere, Iowa, wearing my Universidad de Alcalá t-shirt, surrounded by corn fields and the aroma of a candle that’s literally called “Paris Café”, I can’t help but find myself wishing I was back in Europe, exploring and adventuring and learning about all of the history and culture, and more importantly about myself.

I have been learning about myself some more since being home, though. I have noticed how much more independent I am than I was before going overseas. Yes, I know I have already mentioned this, but it’s important. My boss often tells the story about how she saw me a couple of nights before I left for Europe and remembers me telling her how afraid I was to be going alone. After all, I wouldn’t even go somewhere as simple as the grocery store or the gas station by myself. Now, I find myself going places by myself and enjoying it. I find myself looking forward to my alone time when I get home from work every day. Being around people all of the time can be exhausting.

I also have been really working on doing what makes me happy and not worrying about what other people think. This is something I struggle with daily…because..well, I am a people pleaser. So, when I feel like I IMG_8793am not doing a good enough job, or that somebody is not happy with whatever I am doing, I feel bad. Because I care so much about everyone else’s happiness more than I care about my own. That’s one way I follow in Jesus’ footsteps, by loving others more than I love myself. But loving myself the way that He loves me is important too.

Sometimes at night, when I am alone with all of my thoughts…Satan likes to target me. He like to put a ton of doubt and worry into my mind about things that are pretty irrelevant and/or would never happen. Some nights, I get so lost and caught-up in all of the lies he feeds me that all I can do is cry until I am tired enough to fall asleep. But then in the morning when I wake up, I think about how stupid it was that I was freaking out over something that will probably never happen or is most likely not true at all. If it weren’t for some of the most supportive people I know being there to listen and tell me how silly I am being about some of these things, I would be spending every night crying in my bed about things I cannot change or control, or things that don’t even exist at all except for in my mind. I know that God put them in my life to help be His light and pull me out when I start to get surrounded by darkness and I am so so SO thankful for them that these simple words on a blog post don’t do them justice.

I was recently told that I “Instagram too much”. As aforementioned, this was one of those things that I freaked out and worried about. The people pleaser in me felt bad and felt like I should just delete the Instagram app for a little while so I can’t post even if I want to. Maybe that will make that person happy. But I guess the independent side of me says “screw you” and “I’ll post what I want, when I want, because it makes me happy and I shouldn’t care what you think.” Yes, I know that me filling your Instagram feed with photos of Europe when I am no longer physically in Europe (I say physically because mentally I am still in Europe because life was good, the coffee what phenomenal, I was having the time of my life, and let’s face it, America kinda sucks sometimes) is probably really annoying. You don’t care. “It’s over, it’s done with, Aimee. Move on.” But it’s not over for me. I won’t let it be. When I say I relive my 12 weeks abroad every day, I mean it. And there’s no easy way for me to sum up into words how I feel..but it’s easy for me to post a photo with a short caption and try to actually show you. But let’s face it. Only I know how I feel and only I will ever know how I truly feel. I can’t pass my feelings on to you through a photo on a social media app. But darn it, I’m gonna try because even if you don’t know how I feel, I do. And I’ve been finding myself learning more and more about how important my happiness is.

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Some of you tech-savvy/artsy/”basic” people out there know of the app called VSCO. VSCO is a photography app, much like Instagram, where people can edit and post photos onto their “profile”. But VSCO is different. People don’t “like” your photos. Or at least, that’s not the point of the app. Yes, you can have followers and you can follow people. And yes you can “repost” things to your “collection” (which is just a collection of other people’s photos that you’ve…I don’t know, collected?) and you can favorite someone’s image. But the point of the app isn’t to see how many likes you can get. Or at least that’s not how it is for me. VSCO is freeing. It frees of the stress of not getting enough likes on a photo you thought would surely at least get your average amount. (Okay I know this probably all sounds really stupid to anyone above 30, but this is coming from the mind of a millennial so bear with me.) VSCO allows me to post whatever I want, whenever I want, however many times a day I want, and I do it solely because I love to take photos and edit them. It is a way that I express myself and it makes me happy, so why shouldn’t I?

That being said, I have another thing that’s on my mind. I am full of wanderlust and I am stuck in the same place I have been for the past 21 years. Being home just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It hasn’t for the past couple of summers..but now I am completely over it. I am over being here, in Middle-Of-Nowhere, Iowa. I have seen and done everything there is to do around here. Everything is too familiar. There is nothing really new to explore. Don’t get me wrong, my family is here and my boyfriend and most of my friends.. (well, most of them are in Dubuque).. and I really enjoy my new job doing graphic design and marketing.. but after work is when boredom strikes. I’ve seen and done almost everything there is to do in the central Iowa area and most of what there is to do in Dubuque. Sure, there are plenty of things that I could be doing, like my laundry or cleaning my room..but that’s not the point. The point is, I caught the travel bug and I am extremely ill. I am constantly thinking about all of the new places I want to go someday or some of the places I want to go back to. I don’t know where I’ll end up after I graduate next spring. I am hoping to leave Iowa and explore somewhere new, especially while I am still young.. but I don’t know what God has in store for me so I guess for now I’ll be patient. God’s been teaching me about patience for the last three years, and while I am a lot better at it than I used to be, I still struggle with it big time. But that’s a subject for a completely different post.

I will leave you with this, the world is too big to leave unexplored and I don’t want to spend decades on this planet and never see the diversity of places God created.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do, but-well I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

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