This year has been, by far, the best year of my life. It feels strange saying that as it seems like the rest of the world around me is burning to the ground and there is nothing but impending doom coming our way within the next 4 years. (Dramatic? Probably not.) But despite all of that, it feels like the sum of my efforts over the many years of hustling hard for my career and for my own enjoyment of my own life has started to pay off. I know that the idea of a 'new year' is a made up construct and time doesn't exist and yada yada, but I like the fact that a year is like a mile marker. I like to see the things I accomplished from the last mile to the one I am going into now, and I think it's nice to reflect on your own life to keep you grounded and moving. This year I have:
- Left the country 4 times (including getting my first passport stamps!!)
- Knocked 9 things off my 'bucket list'
- I have traveled to and through 14 states
- I have been on about 60 planes
- I have seen mountains in: Los Angeles, Iceland (x2), Las Vegas, Seattle, Hawaii, Portland, Texas, Driving through the desert out West, and Northern California
- I have seen the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Norwegian Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea
- I shot about 5xs more jobs this year than last year with a large majority of the shoots being destination weddings or paid travel photography (dream come true!)
- I have been published multiple times
- Got to shoot Olympic Athletes before the Rio Olympics
- I was chosen as the official photographer for USA Roller Derby
- Tried out to skate for Team USA (and kind of made the team, see above: ^^)
- Competed in my first weightlifting competition and totaled
- I got all of the new gear I had planned to get for 2017 early
- Watched both my brother and little cousin get married to wonderful women
- Saw one of my favorite artists perform after over 10yrs of being a fan: Florence + the Machine
- Got to see all of my close friends in both of my old homes, Ohio and Florida
- Moved apartments after 4yrs in the same one
- Started to understand how to put myself before everyone else, though it is still a work in progress
- Started the foundation of a future charity and art project to help victims of domestic violence: the Bulldozer Project
- Got plane tickets early for some travel in 2017 to look forward to
I feel like I have been running around like a wild woman and have barely had enough time to breathe. Every month, since December 2015, I have left the state / country (sometimes more than once). Because of that, I am going to be writing some blogs (a bit late) on my travels this year from Iceland round 2, Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada and Northern California, Portland, Seattle, and possibly a few more. I had originally thought this post would be WAY more exciting than this, but turns out most of the excitement is going to come from the blogs when I can go into detail of some of the fun stuff we did and places to suggest you go to. (Perhaps a blog on shooting travel gigss? Would anyone want that? Bueller?)
This year was the first time I took time to focus on myself unapologetically and I learned a lot from it. (And, coincidentally, giving up on dating sites and seeking a relationship goes hand-in-hand with that. BEST DECISION.) I learned patience, I learned that it is OK to deviate from my routines and that sometimes I need to let something go for a minute in order to make space for something else. I learned that I actually can not do everything all at once, all the time. There were moments that I was incredibly hard on myself for having to take a step back from some of the things that give me happiness as well as make my physical body better, but I learned that those things will be there and sometimes you just have to do what you have to do in order to move forward in your career. But most importantly, this year has shown me that I can do it. That I have it in me to achieve the things I really want in life.
I want to say a giant THANK YOU to all of my clients and friends who have given me these opportunities to live my life to the absolute fullest, to the point of not being able to fit anything else into it. THANK YOU for trusting me to capture all of your moments of love, laughter, and the things you are passionate about. It means the world to me and I take your trust as the highest honor. It gives my life its' purpose.
Happy New Year everyone! May 2017 be as fruitful to us all personally and better than 2016. And, may we resist any bullshit that is inevitably going to be thrown our ways.
<3 Steph / Penny / Peffy / Your Photographer