Arts and crafts in my office makes me happy on a Friday!

"Revel in what you're doing, doll."

I just got off the phone with my dad, who gave me the above advice. His words gave me pause.

I have hoped and wished and worked for so long to live my life as a full-time photographer, that I almost failed to realize I'd arrived at the gates of my dream.

There were so many moments when it felt so far away, when I'd call my parents or my best friends in tears because it seemed impossible, when Brian would listen to me tell him why I couldn't make it happen, when I'd push back from my computer in frustration because my work wasn't good enough, when I would succumb to the toxic habit of comparing myself to others, when I would sigh heavily and feel like giving up.

Self-doubt and negativity have chased me relentlessly as I've pursued my goals, but I am strangely grateful for them. As they nipped at my heels, they drove me forward. I worked hard and pushed myself harder to escape them, and slowly but surely, I ended up where I always dreamed of being.

There's no magical finish line to signal that I am here, because dreams realized don't announce themselves like that, and this is not the end--it's the beginning. But how can you tell when you're close enough to skim your fingers against the skirts of your greatest hopes? There's no announcement or trophy, or even a clear maker to say, "you are here."

It's in the way you feel, and it feels like gratitude. It feels like delight.

When you love what you do, on the best days, the hours fall away and you are just so focused--it's almost meditative. It's the practice of your craft that brings joy. When you love what you do and you have the chance to do it, the reward is in the action. Keep working and striving and improving and being excited to go to bed so you can wake up and do it again.

If there's something you're working towards and it seems to slip continually further afield, just keep going. You will get there, I promise you.

When you do, revel in it.