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This is 38. A birthday post about a girl and her dog.


It's 8pm on my 38th birthday. I've had a magical day, to be honest. I spent it with my dog, Tobin, who just so happens to be 6 years old today. I say every year that he was the best gift I could have ever gotten. I never thought I would enjoy sharing my birthday with anyone. Tobin is the one and only exception.


After cleaning the kitchen and making my bed (because nothing gives me more joy than coming home to a clean kitchen and getting into a made bed) I took Tobin to the pet store so he could get some new toys, and I went to one of my favorite coffee shops so I could get a magical Christmas latte and a chocolate croissant.


This is 38. I wore no makeup today, because I hate wearing makeup (ok - I did put on a little mascara). I let my hair air dry, because I hate fixing my hair. I wore my favorite yellow pants that I got on clearance at Forever 21, because I will never be too old to shop there. And I wore my Daddy's hat, because, well, it looks really cute on me, and it gives me the same confidence that he has always given me.


Tobin and I went to our favorite place - a remote little beach on Mobile Bay that has the best sunsets. We played fetch for an hour and a half. I sipped my coffee and ate my croissant. He whined every time I took more than two seconds to throw his new toy. It annoyed me. But I also smiled because I knew one day I would miss that whine.


Life goes by so damn fast.

I brought my camera because I wanted to try to take some self portraits. And I'll tell you this in confidence - I'm pretty dang good at taking other people's portraits. I need some work taking my own. Most of them are out of focus. A lot of them are blurry.


But I mean dang. If this isn't 38.


I have wrinkles but I still have acne. My hair can't remember if it's curly or straight. I have a foopa that I can't blame on kids but I can thank biscuits and Pad Thai for. And I thank them often.


These are all things that used to really bother me. But I'm 38. And they really don't anymore.

I have a gap in my two front teeth that I loathed as a kid. Now my smile is one of my favorite things about my face. Because I smile a lot y'all. And it's real. And I'm so grateful.


I feel like I needed to get this out into the world because I am not where I thought I would be at 38. Maybe you can relate. I'm not married. I don't have kids. I'm still living right next to the sleepy bayfront town I grew up in.


But as I sit here sipping bourbon and looking at my Pad Thai leftovers with a tuckered out Tobin next to me, I know I am where I am meant to be. Every single thing I've done in the last 38 years has led me to this moment.


I remember talking to my mom when I was in my early twenties about where I saw my life heading. (In fact, it may have been on my 21st birthday - the one I spent having a tea party with my mom and her friends because my mom has always been and will always be my truest and best confidant). I remember telling her, "I just want to have a story." And then of course I laid out exactly what I thought that story should be.


She probably laughed at me, not to make fun of me, but because she would have been 47 at the time, and she knew better. We may have the "perfect" story laid out in our heads, maybe even in our hearts. But our story will never outweigh God's story. I've always hated that.


Sometimes I let myself get disappointed in my story, just because it isn't what I thought it would be. (Or should be might be a better way to put it.) But today was such a good day. Today is a day I never could have had if my story was any different.


I love my life. And I don't think I tell myself that enough. I don't think any of us do. There's a book by Dan Sullivan called The Gap and the Gain, and it talks about how a lot of tend to focus on what's missing rather than how far we've come. It's mostly referring to progress in business, but honestly it can pertain to life in general. How often do we look at our lives and point out what's missing instead of how much we have?

I am a full time photographer. Y'all. I get to photograph people's best days and biggest milestones AND IT PAYS THE BILLS. And I didn't even know it was my dream until it came true.


I have a family that adores me and a boyfriend that truly cherishes me. I have friends that will draw on themselves with permanent marker to fulfill a silly birthday wish I had.


And I have the best dog on the planet that I have gotten to share 6 of the most important years of my life with.

So here's to 38. Here's to being a little out of focus, here's to life being a little blurry, and here's to feeling love and loving life like you never have before. Cheers, friends.


xo,

Jess



(c) Jessi Casara Photography

Check out more at www.casaraphoto.com



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