Sept 5, 2014 - All photos are at the end of the post.
As I mentioned yesterday, I spent this past weekend in Estes Park, CO for my friend Julie's wedding. The wedding was an absolute blast but I realized that if it had been a year ago, or even 6 months ago, I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun.
After a ridiculous morning of traffic, almost missing our flight and a lost bag, Sarah and I were off to Estes and arrived just in time for a welcome cocktail/pizza party hosted by the bride's family. Besides the bride and groom, who were busy greeting everyone, we knew no one.
Last year I would have stuck to Sarah's side and we would have kept to ourselves. I used to be so much more self conscious, anxious and constantly worried about how other people would perceive me. You know where that left me? Alone. Having gotten help with my anxiety as well as developing a stronger faith, I've become so much more comfortable in my own skin and with putting myself out there. What's there to lose?
Well, guess what? We made some friends who invited is back to their cabin and we, in turn, basically invited ourselves back the rest of the weekend. We had the best time with the best group of people; they made our weekend. If I hadn't just put myself out there and started talking to people, it never would have happened; last year, it never would have happened.
It's amazing how much we can grow and change in just one year. The old part of me would have thought this past year was a waste, even shameful. I graduate from law school and can't get a job, spending a year draining my savings and depending on my parents. But looking back, I never would have changed so much for the better without this time. I wouldn't have made my small group friends and I wouldn't have learned how to lean on God. I never thought I would be thankful for a year of unemployment, but I am.
The rest of the weekend was spent hiking, relaxing, and constantly laughing. On Saturday we headed into the Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked to Lake Hellene.
The view was amazing and the pictures, as always, do it zero justice.
Sunday was the big wedding day with the ceremony on the top of our mountain and the reception at the Stanley Hotel.
The view was breathtaking, but even more so was the bride and groom. I've never cried so much at a wedding, but I've also never known the bride and groom so well or the love that they have for each other and God. I am beyond excited to see them start their life together.
I couldn't have imagined a more perfect weekend, there were ups and downs, sun and hail storms, and so much love.