Pic: @Kaihla Tonai

Pic: @Kaihla Tonai

This Christmas I’ve decided to stay away from gifts. This Christmas I’m taking time off, spending it with friends, family and myself. I’m not financially unstable; I could certainly find the financials to give material gifts, however this year I’m being what some may call selfish. I’m taking that Christmas gift budget and putting it towards myself.

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Christmas, it’s just never been a huge ordeal, it’s never been about the gifts. I'd be lying if I said I didn't love giving gifts, making gifts, receiving gifts...but it’s not just about gifts. I think society has gotten away from teaching about the meaning behind Christmas and more about “What do you want from Santa”.

Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more! – Dr. Suess

I believe in taking time to ones self; I believe it’s necessary to my own sanity. Time alone, time away, it helps me show up for people in genuine unforced circumstances. I can give my all to my friends and family because I’ve taken time to care for my own needs. My soul craves travel; it craves new places, new people and authentic conversations. I’ve chosen a career that requires me to spend many of my weekends working, I miss out on a lot of spontaneous summer trips, weekend camping adventures and general socializing with my friends. Unless someone is planning a wedding, vacation or trip a year or two in advance, there is a high chance I’ll miss it. I’ll admit sometimes I think it sucks, but I’m also reminding myself it’s a lifestyle choice. It’s a choice I’ve made, and I’d choose it over and over, again and again because that’s how much I love this career path I’m on.

That being said those missed moments of travel spiral into me needing to pack my things up in a backpack, suitcase or my car and get out of here. The next few months I’ll be in the states for 10 days, Mexico for 7 days and Hawaii for 7 days. It may seem selfish but my soul craves the ocean, my heart needs to be freed from the constraints I’ve created with my career choice. It’s my intention that every November-February in the future will be spent on spontaneous trips taking unplanned pictures, grabbing coffee with strangers and feeding my spirit with nothing short of amazing.

Calgary will always be home, but if I don’t leave home enough each year I can easily lose track of how grateful I am to reside in such a great city and country. I’m so appreciative of my family whose just a short drive away and the so happy to be able to spend this holiday season surrounded with them at the dinner table. I’m also thankful for them not only understanding my selfish desires but supporting them.

Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary. 

Sarah Beaulieu

Photographer from Calgary, Alberta specializing in Weddings