*Are you happy at the moment?
To me, the word “happy” carries the connotation of a great big smile on a bright, sunny day. As a natural optimist, I do feel happy often, but there are many days that I would better describe my status as joyful, aware and grateful.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
I would love to tell that girl to stand a little taller, let loose a little more, and enjoy getting to know herself almost as she would a friend. I’d tell her to practice loving herself now because she’ll need to draw on that strength as she continues down the road ahead.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
This year I’ve discovered some life-changing authors, one of which is the fabulous Brene Brown. Through her books and teaching, I’ve learned that vulnerability and authenticity are two major keys to living a wholehearted life. If you haven’t heard of Brene or had a chance to engage with her work, I would recommend starting with her audio presentation, “The Power of Vulnerability.” I would buy a copy for everyone in the world if I could!
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
My biggest goal in the next year is to stay both present and focused. When I become overwhelmed with work or family, I’m highly tempted to disengage by burying my head into Facebook, food, or a distracting trip to Target. My goal is to face those uncomfortable feelings head-on and take practical steps toward relieving some of the pressure. With work, this may mean turning off the wi-fi and tackling a task that’s been hanging over my head. With family, this could mean taking some slow, deep breaths (or even a bath tub or a quiet break in my room!), then re-engaging as soon as I feel calm and able.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
For me, happiness is always a byproduct of connection. I’m the happiest when I’m with someone I love, sharing and listening on a deep, real level. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was young, and I’ve learned that the best medicine for a “down day” is reaching out to someone that knows you at your worst, but loves you anyway.
Also, coffee. 😉
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Honestly? Sleep! There’s nothing I can think of that can heal the trouble of every day like a good night’s sleep. I’ve always been an early-to-bed girl… even in college… my poor roommates, LOL!
*What’s your biggest regret?
My Number One Biggest Regret is how much I worried about what people thought of my parenting back when I had my first two babies, only 15 months apart. I listened to practically every voice but my own, worrying that I would come across as too lax, too harsh, too careful, not careful enough, too organic, too pre-packaged, too scheduled, too willy-nilly… everything! I spent the first four years of motherhood running in circles trying to look like a “good mom” to everyone around me. As I grew in confidence, I began to understand that no matter how you parent, there will be plenty of people who disagree with what you’re doing. I regret it so deeply because, in the end, I think I knew what my kids needed all along; it was so different from what I gave them for fear of what others would think.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
Every time I’m lucky enough to be there when my kids make mistakes, I make sure they know that I don’t love them despite their failures, but because of them. When we fail, it proves two amazing things: first, that we’re human, and second, that we’re putting ourselves “out there.” I would so much rather my kids try things and fail than hold themselves back from becoming an active player in their world!
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I am the queen of procrastination! I would love to change that. I just bought a promising “guided journal” called Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. I can’t wait to start it (if I ever actually do, LOL!)
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I would say that I’m the most proud that I’ve learned to stop putting limits on what I can achieve. For a long time, I taught photography classes at my studio for parents, but a few years ago a fellow photographer and I decided to see if we couldn’t bring what I was teaching to a larger audience. We developed Shoot Along, an engaging and inspirational year-long project that’s designed to give parents the tools they need to better photograph their children. As we look toward launching Shoot Along for 2016, I’m incredibly proud that thousands of parents now participate from all over the world! I would never have attempted to bring my photography instruction to more people if I had limited the scope of my dream!
*When were you happiest?
My husband and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary in Downtown Chicago this past summer. We were both very happy that week!
*What ten words best describe you?
determined, sensitive, creative, optimistic, adventurous, loving, resilient, hopeful, curious, entrepreneurial
Amy Tripple is an award-winning, nationally-recognized photographer whose work has appeared in Parents Magazine, Daily Candy, People, Adoptive Families, Cupcake Mag, US Weekly, and Cool Mom Picks, just to name a few! Amy lives with her husband, three children, and crazy Irish Setter in the Chicago area.
Amy co-founded the popular Shoot Along project, an engaging, hands-on adventure for parents who want to better document their families through photography. For more details or to sign up, visit www.shootalong.com. For photography inspiration and expert how-tos, follow Shoot Along on Facebook or Pinterest.