Promoting Passion Week 61: Birthday Reflections

Promoting Passion Week 61: Birthday Reflections

Last week was my birthday. I love birthdays. It is a chance to celebrate someone when, so often, we fail to do so. To be honest my husband and I don’t celebrate birthdays much. We say that we celebrate each other all the time, so there is no real need. But nonetheless, I love birthdays because of how reflective they make us. We think about our lives in terms of years, and we often find a way to define a certain year of our lives. For example, when I think of being 21, I think of it as a huge, life-changing age. I got married, graduated from college, moved across the country, and discovered photography. Big year! When I think of 26, I think of how I bought my first home. When I think of 16, I think about meeting the love of my life.

But aside from reflecting on the things we’ve done, it is a chance to start anew. It is a chance to evaluate if you really are the person you want to be, or if you need to change something. For me, there is always something to change. The only question is what I am going to change. I spent the last year of my life changing course. I stopped doing a lot of the things I had done before – business and personal – and laid the foundation for a new life. This year, I am living it. Year 28 will be one of discovering my dreams. Dreaming bigger. Dreaming in my own way. Letting dreams define me.

I emailed someone the other day about a big project I’m working on. His response was “This is an absolutely crazy idea”. And that made my heart soar with joy. “Yes,” I thought, “that is the kind of life I want to live.”

Getting older means learning lessons. It means failing miserably. It means succeeding wildly. It means changing perspective on life. And this is what it has meant to me:

1. Failing is winning for those willing to try hard.

2. Life cannot be quantified in years. If I died right now, I will have lived the best life possible. This I can say with absolute confidence and love.

3. I would rather be crazy than boring. After all, I am the only one I can count on to entertain myself.

4. Not everything will work out, because if it did, we wouldn’t be able to see the gems through the dust.

5. There is never an excuse for boredom.

6. Being present in all that you do means you will never feel like life has passed you by.

7. Being genuine will get you farther than attempting to please people.

8. When you refuse to compromise your beliefs, you attract like-minded people into your life.

9. If you treat failure like an old friend, he will always be there to help you back up when he knocks you down.

10. Kindness should never be dependent on someone else’s actions.

11. Fears are friends wearing masks. Get close enough to see the face of fear.

12. Give your love without need for reciprocation. Receive love like you deserve it.

13. The words “best” and “worst” should never be used to describe someone. We will only look foolish when we are proved wrong.

14. Tell someone why you love them.

15. Live your life to make someone else’s life better.

16. Look forward to each day you grow older. The alternative is death.

17. If you build a community, take care of that community.

18. Dream as though it will happen.

What I have learned this past year can be summed up in these words: Love wholly. Give repeatedly. Create selfishly. Challenge yourself regularly. Live beautifully.

Goodnight, 27.

Good morning, 28.

If you would like to send along a birthday gift (trust me, this is not a crazy narcissist sentence…) you can donate to the Fibromyalgia awareness campaign I have running, create an image with a butterfly to raise awareness, or join me on May 9 for the Caterpillar Walk. Alternately, you can donate photo equipment for the photography school I am starting in India for survivors of human trafficking – The Light Space. Signing up for the new After Dark conference will help donate to the school. Or simply check out my Giving Back page for ways to get involved.

19 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Week 61: Birthday Reflections

  1. happy, happy belated birdies to you Brooke! It’s been a blessing to have met you and be inspired by not only your work, but yOur words and actions.

  2. Hi Brooke, congratulations on another year of living life to the full and this beautiful post. It’s my birthday on the 21st March and I’ll be 43! Life passes us by too quickly if we let it, hold on to the precious moments, sending you hugs from the UK xx

  3. I’m glad to see you well! what a great post, Brooke! Loved it! I have nothing to add, as already said everything. Beautiful! Not only in this past year, but since I met you, I regularly challenge me, on photography, and it makes me feel alive and live beautifully. On this weekend I went with my nieces (11 and 9 years) take photos for the image of Fibromyalgia awareness campaign. The photos were not as well as I wanted, but we have a lot of fun. Was splendid, have these two magnificent assistants! I went back today to take new pictures and I will try to get where I want. Then I come back here, to fibromyalgia post, to share the photo. Stay well! 😉

  4. Happy Birthday Brooke!!! I hope you have an amazing and inspiring day!!! LOVE this blog post, so many things on your list I am trying to do myself this year!! As always you have inspired me =)

  5. I WOULD ALWAYS RAHTER BE CRAZY THAN BORING!! Hahaha story of my life, I definitely feel you on that one. I can certainly always entertain myself. All we really need is our imagination. 🙂
    I hope you had a truly magical and wonderful trip around the sun, congrats on being another year more awesome and may your next lap around be even more fantastic and fulfilling! <3

  6. I have to agree about not celebrating birthdays, but rather to celebrate each day. But I do like your reflective spin on it 😉

    Thank you for this gift of mantras… Many are ones I know well. It was a welcome reminder for me at this time and much needed.

  7. Happy Birthday! My husband amd I are always useless at birthdays etc. we put it down to not liking ‘organised fun’ or other people telling you which days are special. The most special days we have had together have just been perfectly ordinary. Here’s to the wisdom of another year’s experience and all the amazing things you will learn while 28.

  8. Your writing and teaching skills are perhaps as strong as your fine art! The detail of this blog, the thought process, the creative ideas, the logical flow, the openness are brilliant. I also admire that you are open to continuous change, despite having accomplished so much. Happy belated b-day.

  9. …forgot….this underwater piece is just freakin incredible, the colors, the composition, the mood. so inspiring. puts a fire under my feet to try new things.

  10. dearest brooke

    we have birthday the same day, it is 9th of march, right?

    I spent mine in Paris photographing 3 models, no time to celebrate but also 10min of insight are enough.

    You are inspiration to me, I am a photoshop and photography teacher and always show my students your work – so they get inspired and passionate too.

    I am so sad that I missed another opportunity to join you in Salernes France. last year I was really dissapointed about that (I told my girlfriend and big love, this is the only thing I regret for 2014…).
    and now I missed it another time 🙁

    wish you all the best and send you love from Switzerland

  11. I found you through your artwork, though never thought that would happen 🙂 …i was overwhelmed with your vision and now with your humble words…so much story bursts to the surface of the images you create…i have used one with a free verse poem i wrote on my blog, with credit to your name below your art…I apologize for not asking you first (and so i am asking now), i really did not think i would ever find you – finally, though i am late, i will say it anyway; Happy Birthday Brooke, you are an amazing artist! 🙂

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