"Sometimes I wish I could go back in life. Not to change things, just to feel something twice."
If there was ever one single quote to define how I feel most days, this would be it. I am unapologetically sentimental; I appreciate the ability to go back, to sit in the past for a little bit and love on the good parts just that little bit harder. Being able to do so contributes greatly to a peaceful heart. It’s like saying, “look at all this goodness, look at all these amazing things you have done. Take a look at where you have been, remember how good all of this was.” Reflection, in my opinion, is one of the strongest forms of gratitude.
And in conjunction with gratitude, celebrating your day, your week or your year Anybody who knows me well knows that I am a keen celebrator of all holidays: Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving in our Aus/American household and above all, birthdays. God, I go hard on birthdays.
2016, at twenty two years old, was my first year working full time for myself. I was thrown from my comfortable surrounds and photographed Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney, shot an International commercial gig in Melbourne, a wedding on Hamilton Island & then on the Sunshine Coast. Without realising, I booked out my wedding season. I expanded by bringing on an employee; a bookkeeper whom I love. I tried to balance full time work with a law degree and learnt quickly about what it means to cry from exhaustion, only to forget why you cried after you have indeed slept 9 hours and found your brains again.
I traveled to Japan with my love and on that trip, truly felt peace. There I ate the best gyoza. And soba. And pumpkin soup (so bizarre, so good). And felt kindness! Oh the kindness in Japan! We spent time in Melbourne with our friends and I laughed until I nearly threw up and my knees gave in. We ate meals that spanned five hours, and we had breakfast in the sunshine every day. I traveled to Hamilton Island, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Sydney alone to work and spent lots of time with myself and my thoughts in transit. I fell back in love with baking and smoothies in the park and yoga. I completed couch to 5k! I can run 5km! (This time next year I’m hoping it will say 10km. Someone hold me to it).
I learnt that self care comes before work and wrote about that here. I truly believe that sustained success is a balance between exceptionally hard work and caring for yourself. If you need a friend who will go get their nails done with you, have an extremely long coffee break with you or tell you it’s okay to have an off day, let’s be friends. I realised so quickly that my business cannot function without me, and that is something that is easy to forget. So much of business owning is selfless. Well my friends, I’m here to encourage you to have some time in your every day to be selfish. And embrace it. This year I will begin privately mentoring photographers and this will be an area I tackle throughout it. Monday through to Friday I begin work from around 7am but I also do some sort of work out every day and care deeply about the food I choose to eat. I live by my skin care routine and I try to light candles before I sleep, especially when my brain is fried. Dark chocolate is good for my soul, as is leaving my phone in the car and drinking a smoothie in the sunshine. Whatever the way, I fill up my self care cup and won’t allow it to be empty (phrase from Heidi, I’ve used it ever since I read it).
I learnt to honour my feelings. A few months back I read a post on how hard it can be to live in this World with a heart that feels things so deeply; to feel love so strongly and sorrow so deeply. I, from time to time, am one of those people. But I can acknowledge that it is why I do the job that I do. I feel things with my Clients on another level. I sometimes get teary editing newborn photos. And then there are days where I play Drake on max volume and power through a wedding. The sways between the two have been so prominent in the year just passed and I am now in a place where I know that the way I feel is so important to nurture, to acknowledge and to work alongside, not fight. You want to cry? Weep it all out. You want to twerk to Rihanna? Go for it. Do it all, feel it all, unashamedly.
But finally, this wouldn’t be a post without thanking all of my 2016 clients. I am so grateful to be welcomed into people’s lives and celebrate with them every day. Life is so precious, and I love each and all of you for knowing this and preserving what matters most to you. Thank you, always, from the bottom of my sentimental heart.
And I couldn't end this post without sharing this here for one last time. In November, Solomon captured everything I love about my work.