There it is. Year 2014 in review.
This took me a better part of Tuesday to review and prepare this blog posting and I must say it was a real treat to spend some time going over my work this past year. I have never done this before but I think I might continue doing this on an annual basis because I really enjoyed the process of going through each wedding, each family session and some of my own personal work. There is a way that an image can transport you back in time to that very moment so you remember what you were feeling at that point in time. Even for myself as I look at some images, I remember too what was going through my mind at the time and it makes me smile knowing that these photos have created tangible memories.
It has been quite the year and I feel like I have come a long way. For the past few years I had been juggling a full-time job, trying to grow a full-time photography business and all the daily things that go along with running a household. And then some really bad things happened in 2013 – my Mom nearly died from a brain hemorrhage but stabilized enough to move into a nursing home, my health and stress levels had hit a wall shortly after that and I spent 6 months recuperating trying to restore my mind and body. And during that time while hiding away in my house because my anxiety was at an all-time high, some big decisions needed to be made – do I quit my stable, well-earning position with the government? It was something that we had been discussing for at least 4 years and I knew that I could not continue doing everything. We were always waiting for the “right time” and it was never seeming to come. Until everything hit the wall and my life felt like it stood still for the first time in a long time.
We decided that I would take any wedding that would come my way for 2014 and that my end date would be a few weeks before wedding season started in June. I went back to work in January with this secret for a few months and after I gave my official notice in the spring, I couldn’t remember a time that I felt so scared yet so free. It was the most liberating thing and I knew that I was heading in the right direction. I had a piece of yellow note paper on my cubicle wall that read, “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong – Mandy Hale.” It was this that kept me going the last 6 months of my job, even though the prospect of going out on my own scared me to no end. What if it didn’t work? How will we afford to live? But my husband was so incredibly supportive and we knew what we needed to do for my own sanity. We would worry about the money later.
Even though being self employed has all its own set of interesting issues, I do not regret my choice for one moment. I’m now 6 months on the other side of leaving the office behind and I am fully looking ahead. I have a mental clarity I have not had in years. I have time with my family on weeknights and weekends. I have time to pour into what I really love to do and to meet new people in an industry that I really enjoy. This is not work to me. It’s so much more than that. The decision to leave has given me my life back.
So, you see, this year was really important to me. A really big milestone. It’s scary leaving the security of something into the great big unknown but not much has really changed in our lives, actually. I don’t know what I was waiting for. The “right time” will never arrive. Sometimes you just have to make your own path.
I am really excited about 2015 and what will happen. I don’t really know yet. All I know is that I am finally somewhere I belong.
Signing off for 2014 –