Somewhere in between the exhausting hours I spent chasing and photographing 15-year-olds, there was a moment. When the teenage waltz’s were through, my cousin and his wife took center stage to have a waltz of their own. Never breaking their tight embrace they whispered to one another, laughed, pressed their cheeks against each other, closed their eyes, and enjoyed their moment. To them, no one else was in that room.

That moment in particular stood out to me because of a conversation my cousin and I had in his car before his daughter’s quinceanera began. I had asked his advice. I won’t share the specifics of the situation for which I sought his advice, but I’ll share what I learned from that conversation: Love happens when you least expect it, but need it the most.

Sometimes life gets so busy that you forget what it is you’re working so hard toward. This year has gone by extremely fast. I spent the majority of it working months straight without a single day off: Two jobs, freelance gigs, and non-profit work. It wasn’t until mid September that things slowed down. I went from working everyday to having four days off a week. And even though I got two exciting career-making job offers, I turned them both down. The months that followed have been full of introspection. I’ve never been serious about the future. I’ve lived my life day to day not expecting anything. Then suddenly something happens or you meet someone who makes you ask yourself “What do I want? What am I working toward?”

I asked myself those questions and found that everything I want out of life has radically shifted. I thought a lot about what my cousin said that night in the car, I thought a lot about that moment between he and his wife, and I thought about what he said about his three daughters.  I thought of all the things that gave meaning to my life and everything got clearer.


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