thirty

Mary Dougherty

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I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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Thirty always felt so distant as a kid, a time I could only dream about. Writing checks, driving a car while I listened to my mixed tapes and hopefully had a perm… it didn’t turn out like I imagined, thankfully. This weekend was that landmark birthday. I decided to put myself to work and host an event. It was a bit stressful, exhilarating and challenging but it came together and I’m so grateful for everyone who joined me in celebrating.

Now that I’ve had a moment (okay, a day and a half) to take a deep breath I can look at this time in my life and see two very different things. First, I don’t really feel that different from any other year. I’m not less ready to take on an adventure or look to the future. While I might not have my life planned out for the next twenty years like I thought I should have at this age, it doesn’t bother me. I’m not locked in to a location or a house – just a marriage and family that I want to be wholeheartedly invested in. So, while I expected to fairly stable and predictable (and in many ways I am), that’s not entirely true of our lives and I’m actually okay with that.

Second, it’s at this time in my life when I am increasingly aware of the tragedy, pain and destruction that is a part of life. I see people close to me dealing with great loss and many all around the world being undervalued and taken advantage of. If it ever was avoidable, it no longer is. The truth is that we need other people, and each day I spend focused on myself I fail to impact those around me.

My twenties have been great, and I feel very blessed to have had a life so full already. I think being thirty is about being honest with yourself and with others. As I step into this new decade I have a clearer picture of who I want to be and what I want to leave behind. Each day is a gift, and as I look all around me, there are reasons to be grateful.

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