Turning Twenty Three - Personal - manaliphotography.com
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Turning Twenty Three – Personal

September 24, 2018

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I’m Manali
Brand photographer & educator based out of Northern VA & DC. When I'm not behind a camera or teaching about systems, you'll find me at a vineyard with wine & cheese or cuddled with my cat Keegan on our cozy couch!
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Before you read the rest of this, if you’re awesome, you will give me the greatest birthday gift and make me super happy by donating to St. Jude’s Hospital!! You can click the link here to donate, it’s super easy and doesn’t take more than 2 minutes! Every little bit counts 🙂

Usually I get pretty happy and excited about my birthday but this year that hype is lacking a little! I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m getting old or I’m looking at bigger milestones that are upcoming in the near future but either way I wanted to write SOMETHING so I could look back years from now and remember things that happened during this time of my life! Here’s a couple of things that happened over the past year!

  • I started my first full time grown up job. It’s interesting to go from working in group projects with classmates to working with a wide range of personalities and ages at work. I also now know entirely too many tricks in Excel
  • Learned how to budget and save up a pretty good sum of money for a rainy day!
  • I moved out into my first apartment and then I  moved back home all in one year! Hahaha I wouldn’t have had it any other way though! I absolutely loved my time in my Ballston apartment and getting to buy my own furniture, decorate it, and cozy up in it. The walk to the metro was good for getting in those steps but also mildly impossible at times. I know that sounds dramatic but lugging heavy camera equipment, two laptops & lunch or a suitcase and laundry basket (don’t ask) was surprisingly difficult at times. And don’t get me started on days that it was raining which lead to bullet number 3
  • I learned to be more tolerant of the rain. I used to HATE getting caught in the rain but over the course of this past year it’s happened so many times that I’ve gotten more used to it. I do still prefer being indoors and cozy during it if given the option though!
  • Moving back home was equally as nice! I’ve always been friends with my parents but it would be weird to go from living on your own in college to being back at home. Oddly enough after moving back after living in my apartment it’s been much different than what I’ve expected and really, really comforting and nice! I thrive off of having background noise, a Nespresso machine, and a big kitchen to cook in!
  • I bought a black stick shift Jetta and my high school self would be really proud that I decided to continue driving stick hahaha I kind of had to “relearn” how to drive it since the clutch is very different than my old car (which led to a rough test drive, not gonna lie) but I’ve definitely gotten used to it and some of my favorite times this past year have been driving in it either on the way down to Charlottesville or back and forth between Herndon and Ballston with the radio/Spotify keeping me company and having time to think about life
  • Leading to the fact that over the course of this year, I actually learned that I LOVE cooking!! That’s something my high school and even college self would absolutely not believe. That being said, I’m still a huge foodie and have gotten to try so many new amazing restaurants over the course of this past year
  • The people who have always been there for me throughout my life have continued to be the ones to support, encourage, and even question me throughout this year and I’m very thankful for that. Oooh also my best friend graduated and moved back home and I’m SO HAPPY about that!!!
  • I’ve had my fair share of ups and really down days. It’s something that I realize won’t ever go away and I’m still learning how to cope with.
  • I guess the biggest and most obvious one is that I built a business after years and years of honing my craft! So that’s pretty cool 🙂 It’s starting to gain the kind of traction and momentum my high school could never have dreamed up!

 

Things that I’m hoping to change for next year!

  • I really want to travel more for fun next year and not just for photography! I took a bit of a hiatus this year (due to saving up money). But if you take half a look at my saved pictures on Instagram/Pinterest, it’s VERY clear that I miss it a lot!
  • I DO want to continue to travel for photography as well and I can’t wait to grow my business to it’s fullest potential!! More on this coming very very soon 🙂
  • That being said, this next year I am definitely taking more time & initiative to block off time for more leisure activities. I guess this can be summed up as “work life balance” which has been surprisingly hard for me over this past year. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I need to be working on my business in all my waking hours but it’s not going to combust if I carve out time for myself. I made the mistake of neglecting the importance of free time during points of this year and it never ended well so I want to be even more intentional with my time moving forward
  • I started reading again this year and it feels so good!! I’m hoping to continue to carve out time to do this every day as well as journal & meditate
  • I guess this still goes along with the two things above but I want to strive to become more present/aware/grateful for each day. All too often I feel like I’m rushing through to-do lists and wishing days away when I should never take a single day for granted
  • Although structure and routine are a great thing, I’m hoping to be a LITTLE more spontaneous on a day to day basis! I think this could help with the above 🙂
  • Visit more vineyards this year with family and friends!
  • There’s about a million and one other things but I’ll end this on a fun note: I had all my Charlottesville spots but I really want to find a dope place for mac and cheese near here!!

Headshot by Hope Taylor Photography!

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