Dear future me:

Another year gone and a new one on the horizon. And this year was one for the books. One that will never be wiped from those etched journal pages in the back corners of your mind. A year with the kind of experiences that will forever shape the way you live and raise your children.

While you think about all you did or didn’t do, try not to beat yourself up if it didn’t go exactly according to plan. Does it ever, really? At this point in the year, it’s easy to fall into the same old trap of scrambling to find resolutions to scribble into a notebook to make next year “better.”

While you think about all you did or didn’t do, try not to beat yourself up if it didn’t go exactly according to plan. Does it ever, really?

But what does that mean really? Is this where you usually make a long checklist of things to do over the next 365 days that will somehow improve your day to day life? Exercising? Eating healthy foods? Reading more books? Isn’t that all just egocentric, leaving no greater impact on your family or peers or community or... world?

What if, instead, you took a good look at who you want to be and how you want to be? Dig deeper. Check your ego at the door.

Challenge accepted.

We have reached a new point in the history of the world where now it matters more than ever who we are. And I don’t mean how many Instagram followers you have. Going forward with your life, will you choose to be an advocate? A friend? A voice in your community? Will you stand up against injustice? Will you promote acceptance? How about having an open mind and exploring new ideas that maybe once made you uncomfortable?

And how will you be? Will you feed into antagonism or will you worker harder to be a bridge?

You’re an artist. Use it to do some good! Share joy! Spread love! Send messages of compassion and support using the tools that you know well. Find a personal project you are passionate about that can help propel you into the uncertain future, and maybe it will also educate and help others along the way.

Your friends might need a little assist, too. Don’t forget about them. They need you. Help them reflect on their year, their life, up until this point, and talk with them about who and how they want to be in the days and years ahead. Help them discover and utilize the tools they trust so they can share their passion and promote the greater good, too.

These are the kinds of actions that will have a lasting impact on the world. And this is only the start of what can be a beautiful way to live. These things that you can do and be a part of starting today, will leave this beautiful existence better than when you entered it. It will be worth it. I promise.

XOXO,

Present day me

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Lea Ciceraro is a photographer, writer, wife of an artist, mama to three amazing kiddos, Childhood Apraxia of Speech advocate, parent of two rescue dogs, music loving, vintage adoring, local farmers' market supporting, film photography addicted, wanderluster, lover of life. She takes leaps of faith when she feels a burning passion for a dream that just won't quit, and tries to always live without regret. Life is too short to not do what makes you happy or strive to be the best version of yourself. Check out her website and find her photography on Instagram and Facebook.

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