Caroline's Senior Portraits & 5 things I wish I could tell my 17 year old self
Caroline is the niece of one of my oldest & dearest friends from college, Mandy. I remember her as a toddler, running around at Mandy’s wedding. Her sister, Jesse, was my very first senior portrait client, and now, two years later, it’s Caroline’s turn. I haven’t seen her since she was a young girl, but she has one of those personalities that make you instantly feel comfortable around her, and a smile that lights up the room. It’s no surprise to me that she was elected Homecoming Queen for Cookeville High School this weekend. I’m really glad she made the trip from Cookeville to have a session with me at Henry Horton State Park.
When I posted a preview photo on Facebook after the photo session, I asked people to share what advice they would give to themselves at the age of 17 if they could. Mandy made a good point with her response. "Oh, I could tell my 17 year old self all kinds of things, but she wouldn't listen. Like she's pretty, and intelligent, and worthy, and she shouldn't be scared to take chances.” That’s probably true for me as well, but just in case I would listen, here are a few things I’d tell myself at the age of 17.
1. Plans are good, but plans change.
If you had told me then that in twenty (something) years, that I would be a family portrait photographer, and president of the PTO, I would have told you that you were nuts. But this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
2. Your friends mold who you become. Make sure they don’t suck, and work to keep the good ones.
Some friends are only in your life for a season, and that is OK. But for those meant to be your forever friends, make sure you make the time to keep up with them through the years. Traditions and routines help. Make sure to make a spot on your calendar for the people that matter.
3. Everyone is dealing with their own stuff, even if you don’t know it, so try to be kind.
This one is hard for me. It’s so easy to make snap judgements about people when you don’t know what they are dealing with. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt and be kind.
4. You are beautiful, damn it.
17 is beautiful for sure. But there is also a different kind of beauty at 37, 57, and 77. Embrace them all.
5. Be mindful of how awesome your life is, right at this moment.
I feel like there were times in my life that I was so ready for the “next thing”, that I didn’t appreciate how awesome things really were already. Who knew I would have so many fond memories of eating ramen noodles and getting our furniture off the side of the curb.
So what about you? Did I miss anything? What advice would you give to your 17 year old self?
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