I don't like to speak for others, but I think it's safe to say that there was a worldwide sigh of relief when the clock struck midnight, January 1.
2016, she was a wild one.
You know how some people choose a word at the beginning of the year that they hope will define the next 365 days? Some popular ones are Present, Intentional, Fearless. I am a fan of this practice, as New Year's Resolutions are never really... well, resolved, for many. However, I have to say, 2016 tried to define itself.
There were some losses, some lows, for sure-- I really let my health slide not only to the back burner, but off the stovetop completely. I made a few unwise decisions financially, which cost me... not fun.
As I previously wrote, I looked to others instead of myself to define who I am as a photographer, how my business is run, and what success is. To be real, I lost sight of what I love, what initially drew me to pick up a camera and pursue this business to begin with, annnnnd, if I am being for-real for-real, I lost a little bit of who I am.
Also not fun.
There were other valleys. In our family, we were dealt some heavy blows; I watched helplessly as close friends (and much of the world) suffered personal, heart-breaking struggles...
And Bowie. We lost Bowie.
Instead of allowing the year to be defined as a loss, bad, or anything else negative, I'm choosing to look at it for what is really was:
I matured in ways I hadn't realized until I've slowed myself down in the last few days, got very still, very quiet, and truly reflected on the past year. I also came to realize that I had a lot more 'wins' than I could count. A few personal highlights being--
- I've gained, maintained, and grown friendships with three women in particular who inspire me to be a better woman, friend, and human being all together. (An area where, to be honest, I struggled in the past).
- I took the time to toss 'should dos'. Instead of keeping myself in a tizzy over things like blog and Instagram posts, getting my work published, and schmoozing at events, I went to sleep. I watched some TV. I read for pleasure. I volunteered. I spent time with my children, went out on more date nights with my husband, and saw my niece more, who is growing up crazy quickly. In other words, I lived my life how I wanted to, with more of a work/life balance than I previously had.
- To the great annoyance of many, I allowed my phone to die... and stay dead. I kept it off to focus on my kids, who are growing into the most handsome, wonderful men. I'm greedy for this time with them. No wedding, no photo session will ever be worth more than my time with them.
- I realized that it's totally okay and absolutely beneficial for me to work in a variety of genres so that I can keep my perspective fresh, and myself inspired!
- I traveled. While I didn't go far, or to exotic places, I did travel quite a bit, with Logan to boot, so that was a WIN!
- Piggy-backing on that note... LOGAN! How could I not acknowledge how much growth and how many changes have been made with him?! He joined my business as an official team member, traveling with me to most every engagement session and wedding this year! I feel that he has added a significant value to this business and our brand. You'll find some of his images included in my favorites below.
- I practiced gratitude more often. A few years ago I took up the practice of writing down three things I am grateful for each day. Over time I let the practice slide, but in 2016, I practiced it often. While not daily (which is a 2017 goal of mine), I did it a lot. I started journaling more than ever, and began to expand on meditation and being more in-tune with my intuition.
- I took the time to try and understand where I want to go, to set goals, and strictly define my business and brand. I have a very specific idea of where I want to head that I did not have 365 days ago, and that is very exciting!
- I met so many new people! I learned so much! That in & of itself is priceless, and worth every moment of discomfort or pain I experienced throughout the year.
- I uncovered who I am. This may seem vague, and in a way I guess it is. But, the bottom line is that I allowed myself to indulge in who I am at this stage of my life. Becoming a mother at 19, and then again at 22, I got quite lost in motherhood, being a wife, and all that comes along with navigating life in those roles, especially in my 20s. This year I took the time to find out what I love-- the type of things I like to read and learn about, the clothes I love wearing, what brings me joy. This helped me to begin the practice of self-care, which leads me to my 2017 word:
I am going to get back the little bits of who I am, and, in 365 days, hope to look back on this and see even more growth.
There is so much that's already planned for 2017!
A very bright note on 2016 was the people I was able to work with.
If you're reading this, and you were before my camera in 2016, I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for allowing me to capture a part of you and your time. You guys are all so incredibly fantastic!
Below are a selection of my favorite images from 2016. I had to stop putting more into the post because it will take foooooooorever for anyone to load it all.
One thing I noticed when I put all of my favorites together is how in so many of these, everyone is caught in a moment of authentic feeling. Quite a few are joyous, which makes my heart sing. I love having a collection of images of people smiling ear to ear, enjoying the moments of their lives. I feel so lucky to say that I was there to capture that.
Here's to 2017! Let's do this!