It's been a busy fall, and I'd like to say just how grateful I am to my amazing clients. THANK YOU for inviting me into your lives, allowing me to be a part of your journey, assisting in the creation of your memories and legacy. It's a true honor.
2013 has been a roller coaster of a year. Plenty of good, and a fair amount of not-so-good, and some downright crap, and I've found that most people I talk to feel the same way.
For all that photography is a passion of mine, when your passion becomes a job and necessary to pay the bills, a little of the magic wears off.
There are plenty of days when I think UGH... I need a break... especially during the busiest time of year, business-wise.
As you know, it's also one of the busiest times of year, personal-stuff-wise.
Birthdays and school projects and field trips and fundraisers and holidays and doctor visits,
not to mention laundry and cleaning and baths and meals...
oh, and don't forget the parent guilt when you put your kid(s) to bed and realize you didn't spend a moment of real quality time with them that day, because there's just so much going on.
The little things can really add up to an overwhelming degree, can't they?
December is always a month of reflection, and for me it is especially so.
My birthday is December 20th
(feel free to request my address if you need it to mail my presents... I kid, I kid!!)
and BOY do those birthdays come more often the older I get...
My (old) wedding anniversary was the 5th and my divorce date was the 12th (3 years ago now)... these things no longer hurt my heart, thanks to the far better place I'm in now, but they do come to mind this time of year.
Then of course there's Christmas (which I now split with my kids' dad, and believe me, Christmas Eve without the kids at home can be a pretty dreary affair)...
But I saw this recently on Pinterest and it reset my thinking.
I may not be where I need to be, but I wonder if any of us can ever say with 100% certainty that we are.
This time of year I get thoughtful, sometimes regretful, sometimes encouraged, at how the year has gone, at where my life is at this moment...
and I realize now it's important to reflect more on the good, and way less on the bad.
Where I am now is in a life full of blessings and struggles, good times and bad, laughter and tears.
Where I am now is four healthy children who are smart and funny and important, who have good manners and care about people and are nice. I love them beyond comprehension.
Where I am now is a man who works hard, who loves me and accepts my shortcomings, who calls me out when I need it, who loves my kids like they're his own; and I do the same for him. We fight and we love and we laugh and we cry and we keep going, because that's what it means to be truly committed.
Where I am now is a warm house with a yard for my kids to play in, pets to snuggle, food in my kitchen, Christmas presents hidden away, a vehicle to drive, a God who blesses me, fun things I get to do, amazing friends and family, and I could go on and on.
You may not be like me, but I know that I'm really hard on myself.
I'm driven, and I pretty much tend to expect perfection from myself, and can get mired down when I fall short because I'm, you know...
And when work is overwhelming or depressing or it just sucks, it's important to focus on what's GOOD about it.
For me, it's the joyful email from a parent who's been moved to tears by the portraits I created for them...
the unique bond I get to forge with amazing people I'd never have known otherwise...
knowing that I've helped preserve precious memories that could otherwise have been forgotten...
regularly getting the chance to snuggle and soothe a brand new precious baby,
bursting with potential and innocence.
For you and your work, it might be in the way you help people, or it might just be the fact that hey, at least your job pays the bills. It might be the fact that you managed to put on real pants and do a load of laundry today. Whatever it is that's good about the work you do, give yourself a pat on the back for it... every day.
There's always good in there somewhere... sometimes we have to look a little harder.
Looking back on 2013, I challenge you (and myself) to list in your mind (or on paper) the GOOD things that happened and the GOOD things you did.
The things that made you proud of yourself or someone else.
Things you achieved, no matter how small (I brushed my hair almost every day this year).
Things that made you happy, or ecstatic, or content, or just made you smile.
All of these thoughts are my impetus for closing out the year and looking forward to a brand new one.
I hope they inspire you, too.
Let go of the guilt. Erase the regrets.
Learn from the mistakes, fix the ones you can, and move on.
Let go of the need to control.
Do the best you can. Be kind to yourself, and others.
Don't be so hard on others, either... be compassionate.
Sometimes we expect superhuman behavior from the very human people we interact with.
Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Try to understand them.
Don't be offended or angry just because someone doesn't feel the same way you do about something. We're all different.
Do you ever wish someone would just give you a break when you mess up, because you're doing your best?
Do the same for others. Don't sweat the small stuff.
LOVE people. FORGIVE them. ACCEPT them.
If you've been holding on to guilt, or regret, or anger, or jealousy, or malingering over negative things...
let it go.
Reflect on the good, and let go of the bad.
In 2014, my wish for you, and me, and everyone,
is that we take more time to focus on the good than the bad.
We are all SO blessed.
It's time to start fresh.
In thinking about my life, and my personality, and my legacy... in what I want people to say to each other about me... I found that what I most want to be known and remembered for is loving.
I even got this quote tattooed on my forearm a few months ago as a constant reminder.
I'm not very good at it yet... but I'm really trying.
Let's BURST into the New Year, faces beaming, minds focused on good,
hearts full of gratitude and love and hope and joy!
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes