Today I turn 26. And I am realizing that for the past four years, since graduating college and moving back from England (which felt like a fantasy the entire time), my day-to-day has felt like I'm not yet living my life. At first it was me paying my dues, working my way up, and that it would all pay off. I just had to be patient. 

When I was working retail I knew it was temporary. After a particularly challenging day dealing with trying customers I would remind myself that this isn't my life, it's a job and it's only a matter of time before I'm out of here. The "regulars" who came into our store day after day and drove us crazy, this was their life (and I pitied them), but it wasn't mine. (Some of our regulars were absolutely lovely, most were absolutely crazy.)

After our first apartment on 19th Avenue in San Francisco, I haven’t since decorated another (maybe I’m just not that into decorating?). They have all felt so temporary, and they have been. We have lived in seven different places in eight years. And we are so ready to move again, and this time plant our roots. 

And now, working in other people's beautiful homes and taking care of their beautiful children, I think, this isn't my life, it's theirs. And most of the time it's a beautiful life, and I'm happy for them, (and happy to be employed by them), and I'm not envious because I know mine is going to be even more beautiful for me. 

When we're in Hawaii, we're living the life my parents have created for themselves, and it's a beautiful escape from the real world. But it's their life not ours. 

I guess I feel like my life will start when I'm a mom. When I’m taking care of my own children, instead of someone else’s. When I’m making the decisions, instead of following directions. When I’m photographing my own babies, as well as yours. Or maybe it will start when we have a home where we can do all of the things we've been dreaming about for years. And those dreams have evolved.

When we were in England we dreamed of living in downtown San Francisco and getting a dog. And that place turned out to be the least livable of all, and definitely not dog-worthy. Now we dream of acreage in the country. Of fruit trees and daffodils, succulents and a clothesline and fresh herbs and barbecue dinners, of star gazing and hiking in the mountains. Room for our dog to run. Room for our kids to run.

I've always looked forward to the future, to being older, wiser, more capable, more experienced. Which is why, I think, it keeps getting better. I hope I always feel that way, but I also hope I can one day be more content with the present. 

25 was a great year. I started my own photography business. It was the one of the most intimate learning experience of my life. I had to grapple with a lot of tough questions, mostly on my own. At times I was so overwhelmed with what I didn't know that I couldn’t even ask for help, I just had to battle through it until I came out the other end and could breathe again. And that was a lonely place to be. I learned that I need to be better at asking for help. I never ask a question that will expose my ignorance on the topic. It’s because I want to be taken seriously. But I know it’s in that place of vulnerability where the growth happens. I’m trying to let down my walls. 

Right now we're saving. We want to make the move as soon as possible. Maybe nine months, maybe 18. Hopefully no longer than a year or two. It's going to happen. Maybe 26 is the year. Maybe 27. This is the final stretch of this chapter, I can feel it. And I’m looking forward to the next ones. How sweet they’ll be.