Journey to Happiness - Thoughts on a Plane to Africa
I wrote this blog last November 2019 while on my way to a photo assignment in Africa. It's personal. It's raw. But it's authentic. It's me. And maybe some of you can relate...
Thoughts on a Plane to Africa - How did I even get here?
As I sit through the final leg of my 24-hour journey back to Africa, I can’t help but feel emotional. It's kind of a miracle I'm even here! My lifelong dream has been to experience and photograph animals in the wild. I was lucky enough to co-lead a photography tour a couple of years ago in Namibia and got a taste of it, but the real highlight there is the desert landscape. This trip is all about the wildlife of Tanzania.
I know I don’t often share personal things here. But suffice it to say, my life has had many highs and many very low lows. It’s been a long journey of healing and finding my true calling. And the further along on this journey I go, the more thankful I am for the challenges life has thrown my way. It’s very easy to fall into the pity party trap, or the blame game when bad things happen. But at some point you realize you are so much stronger for having not only experienced those challenges, but survived them! And at that moment of realization, EVERYTHING CHANGES.
Fulfilling dreams has been my priority over the last 15 years. I decided a long time ago that REGRETS STINK, and I did not want to grow old having them. We all know someone who at the end of their life had regrets over things they did not say or do while they were still able. The worst!
My own journey through ending a broken marriage after 19 years, depression, eating disorders, major surgery, and a huge career change took time... and patience... and more patience. And now, at 56, I see the payoff in taking whatever time you need to heal and explore how to get to your next chapter. Once you feel that twinge of excitement about the dreams in your heart becoming a reality, you become fearless. There is no turning back. Happiness is all that matters.
That doesn't mean I don't still struggle from time to time. I do. That is real life. But I've learned that the long view is what keeps us moving forward in the direction of our dreams, and the short-term setbacks are what is necessary to make us strong enough to get there.
The key to real happiness is within all of us. Inevitably, it reveals itself through our life experiences. Some take longer than others to find it. But if you are open to the possibility. If you are willing to take the journey to get there with all of its unknowns. With all of its wins and all of its losses. YOU WILL FIND IT.
I know this is not the kind of thing I usually talk about here. I hope you find it useful and if you can relate, please share your thoughts in the Comments. I truly believe that by being open and vulnerable, we create space to grow and maybe even help someone else while we're at it. Don't be shy. I'd love to hear from you!
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Keywords: cheryl bigman photography blog, fulfilling dreams, inspirational blog, inspirational stories, personal blog, Real Life - Personal Stories, san francisco bay area photographer, thoughts on happiness
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