We all seem to be in a state of shock (me included) that 2018 is almost over.
To be honest, this year has been an emotional rollercoaster and full of big highs and big lows and I feel like I am limping towards the finish line.
So what’s happened?
Strap yourselves in friends, because it’s a long one!
We bought our first house! Which is surprising, because we started this year saying “Mayyyybe we’ll buy a house?”. We weren’t very optimistic, we had heard the stories of people taking 12-18 months to find something, and were prepared for this to be a long ride. But we got lucky, and found a place to call home within the first 3 months! Which sounds very insane, as we had only gotten pre-approval for a mortgage the week before we signed on the dotted line. I’m so grateful we found something so quickly, and I love living here. I miss all the convenience of where we used to live, but our house is so bright and light, I’m just constantly happy and grateful everyday that I get to live here.
One of the things I was looking for in a new home, is a space that I could convert into a newborn studio. I launched the studio in June, and it’s been everything I hoped it would be (phew - expensive mistake otherwise). You can take a tour of my newborn studio over here.
This year Dan and I turned 30, and MAN I am SO STOKED to be in my dirty thirties. It might be coincidence, or not, but this year I also really settled into myself and my photography. Towards the end of last year I locked myself into the editing cave and put in a HUGE, huge, huge amount of effort into … I don’t know how to describe it. I wasn’t happy with my editing style, I was so close to where I wanted to be, and so frustrated that I wasn’t there. It took me over a month, tweaking settings smidgey bit by smidgey bit, but I got there! I’ve never loved editing more than I have this year, every time I get a one click edit I’m like BOOM! And I feel so so empowered, and fulfilled haha! It meant I’ve had more time to work on connecting with my clients (the newborn studio has helped massively with this as well) and my work has never been more consistent.
I’ve made more friends, deepened my friendships with current friends, grown a profitable business and was finally in a position to begin regularly giving back and donating to charities (despite all the crazy going on in my personal life this year), been there for my friends and family when they needed me - it’s been a good year in that respect. But there’s two sides to everything, and you can’t look at the light without acknowledging the dark.
And I can’t forget about Plant Creepers! Having this baby with Allyson has been one of the best adventures of 2018!
Honestly, I’m not sure if this is a low. But this year a lot of my friends have needed an intense level of emotional, mental and sometimes financial support; and while I have been so deeply happy to provide that for them, it’s left me utterly drained.
I’ve not really talked about it all anywhere this year, but behind the scenes this year we’ve had people living with us basically since April. I’ve helped my best friend escape an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship, which involved going to court and everything, another friend escape an emotionally abusive relationship with her business partner, another friend escape an emotionally abusive relationship with her family (which included relocating her and her dog here to Melbourne to live with us for 6 months) and another friend escape another emotionally abusive relationship (okay, what’s up with all the emotionally abusive relationships out there?). Members of my family also have depression, and have leaned heavily on me this year.
And there’s no part of me at all that regrets how much of myself I have given away this year, my friends and family needed me and I’m just really glad I could be there for them.
But I’m so tired. Which gives me a deeper level of respect for people who manage similar (or worse) loads while juggling children, ill family members, inflexible work arrangements, illness, man I know it could have been so much worse for me.
Because I’ve had so much going on, I really let go of myself this year. I stopped eating healthy, I stopped exercising or doing yoga or meditation. Which has all cumulated in me being really, really unwell over the last few months. Laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, a secondary chest infection, then a month long sinus and then ear infection (that doctors kept refusing to diagnose). And for this to all happen after the year I’ve had, well you can understand why I’m ready for a holiday over Christmas!
Also? I didn’t accomplish anything on my innovative to-do list. Which is really frustrating, but hopefully it means 2019 is the year I can start to tackle all the ideas growing roots in my heart and put them out into the world.
But while it's been a very exciting and very tiring year, it's also been an incredible one. I'm so incredibly proud of everything that I did this year, and grateful to have worked with so many incredible people ♥
What did I learn this year?
There are a few lessons I’m taking away from this year:
you don’t have to do it all. Outsource what you can, and take back control of your time. About three months ago we joined Hello Fresh, which made a big difference to the mental load I was carrying. Recently, I also hired a cleaner to come through on a regular basis to clean my bathroom and kitchen. Originally I told myself I’d do this in 2019, but then I got super sick and cleaning was legitimately the last thing I felt like doing (and my bathroom was so filthy it would give you all nightmares) and it’s been so nice. An incredible luxury that I’m grateful I can afford for right now.
you can’t help or please everyone. Although this is probably a lesson I will be learning every year for the rest of my life (hello ENFP, Enneagram Type 2 person that I am).
I can still create and capture beautiful photographs for my clients to treasure, even when I’m super sick (that was a big relief).
What do I need to leave behind in 2018?
This ill health! The busy-ness of 2018 in my personal life, I am looking forward to a much calmer year next year, that’s for sure. Fingers crossed.
What do I need to bring with me in 2019?
You, dear reader. I want to bring YOU with me. My wonderful clients, who make all of this possible, I couldn’t be without you in 2019 ♥. Thank you for making my job the best “job” in the whole world. Connecting with you all, and photographing your stories, the way you love and live your wild and precious life, has gotten me through this year and I’m so deeply grateful to you for trusting me to capture it all.
Truly, my life wouldn’t be possible without your support, and I’m sending you the biggest, warmest thank you hug you’ve ever had in your life!
And as I am about to turn on my auto-responder (because this photographer is officially on leave now), pop my santa hat, blast the Christmas Carols and wait for my family to arrive - I want to wish you the merriest of Christmases and happiest of New Year celebrations.
I hope 2019 brings you a year full of love, snuggles, and laughter ♥.
ps: hit play to listen to a song that makes me feel all the feels, while you scroll through some of my favourite photos from 2018 so far.