Absolutely stunning and humbling! Thank you so much for such beautiful kind words, and the pictures are breathtaking!
It’s year end post time – be witty, be deep, list all the highlights and do it all genuinely.
Sigh. That’s too much for me.
I started blogging in 2002. It was a fresh approach to marketing yourself and I committed, well, truthfully I kind of kicked-ass. It was how we shared photos in the pre-social media world and a place for clients to get to know me. I shared the sweetness that was my life then – a little toddler in the house, the hope of a new photography business. I had buckets of easy to digest content to share. Then my marriage ended, my daughter got sick, I met a new man (not currently my man,) we had cancer in the family – it got messy, but I kept writing and it felt right. Then social media exploded – and with the birth of pinterest and its friends came more “shoulds” and “coulds” and then, unfortunately too many “doubts. So I reigned my writing in. I still shared truthfully, but I curated more – I spellchecked, edited and even had Christine my office manager read it over before posting – I often asked her “do I sound too crazy?” I overthought the optics of what I was typing. So blogging frequently landed in the category of chore – it took longer, and became less fun, but it was needed for SEO – right?
Well, I don’t care anymore. Bring on the typos, the imperfections, the irrationally scheduled blog posts and inconsistencies in photo sizes. I’ll chose that over worrying at night if I said enough, too much or used the american spelling of honor.
For my 2016 year end blog post I considered: a top ten list, inspiration quotes, an adorable (not yet in existence) photo of me and the dog. I tossed the dog photo idea out the window and replaced it with a stunning scenic of the ocean that would best express the joy and gratitude I felt. As I sat down to write this afternoon, I had cycled through countless other option, and still was not definitive on how to best approach the 2016 year end blog post. So I just started typing.
This year has been one of my favorite (aside from world politics and the moment my paddle boards blew off my car.) Thanks to resilience, gratitude, family, friendship, my camera, and a magical counsellor (Frances Ferguson in Willow Point.. I highly recommend her,) this is what it gave me:
1. A deeper understanding that being successful has nothing to do with any measure then the ones you set for yourself. After spending much time listening to myself, I know what success is – for me. Truly for the first time in my life, I can say I am successful (today.)
2. A deeper understanding that self care isn’t nice tea and bath bombs (although I did just finally experience a Lush bath bomb and I have to say it is very close.) Self care is saying no to things that aren’t right for you, being willing to disappoint some people, setting your own rules and carrying self compassion and forgiveness. I know, that is A LOT, but it is a lot of really beautiful actions.
3. A deeper understanding that it takes space and time to know what we want and need. Rather than chasing after different feelings, I see value in first further familiarizing, and not judging the ones I have.
2016, you and I did well together. I felt good inside. I had some BIG paradigm shifts and took myself “on”. We looked at my self-assumptions and limitations and messed them up. Then we took more time for being silly and indulging daydream sessions.
So as I move forward into 2017, with a new level of belief in myself that I plan to hold on to, I am going to honour 2016 and my growth right here. This blog is going to step back to the early 2000’s, when I wrote like no one was reading. Rather than ensuring there are no grammatical errors, I will work on caring less about them. I will not avoid posting because the photos don’t fit the typical horizontal template (the amount of time I spend on ridiculous elements like this is appalling.) I will post photos without words or words without photos (yah.. take that SEO!) I will not google how to make my photos look better in blog posts, nor will I go on pinterest in an attempt to inspire with quotes. I will write as if no one is reading – (which is pretty funny, because I just finally understand google analytics and now know how to check if anyone is reading.)
There is a tenancy as we move into a New Year to think about what we can improve. I reject that. Instead, I am going to take the elements that worked in 2016, celebrate them and give them more space in 2017. Perhaps you will join me.
Happy New Year friends, and thanks for being here with me.
oh – and as for my favorite photo(s) of 2016. I can’t even go there – I feel so deeply for the people and places I photograph, to choose is also too much.
But I kept coming back to this one. Because it is from today, during a walk to the beach with my daughter. Right here is what matters. Nature – love – being present – and well, some beautiful back light never hurts.