The first part of 2015 has been very low-key for me, for several reasons. I started the year vowing to stop thinking about the things I wanted to change in my life, and start really making changes. This is where my focus has been:
Family and friends. Moving back to Toronto means I am close to 80% of my family and friends who I didn't get to see as often when I lived in Montreal and in Wisconsin. I am really loving any chance I get to spend time with these nearest and dearest folks. I am particularly grateful to be around for life milestones and to be physically close to people during difficult times.
Living simply. As longtime readers will know, I've moved eight times in the last two years, and all this change has at times taken its toll physically, emotionally, and financially. It is challenging to run your own business as a sole proprietor, and those challenges are heightened by constant change. I'm not saying any of this to complain, because I am immensely grateful for my life and my career, but I'm just being transparent and saying that my circumstances have necessitated a change in my lifestyle. I am living frugally and trying to make wise choices. I am sacrificing some things so I can do others. I'm focusing on health and fitness and financial planning. I'm stripping away anything superfluous and sticking to essentials. But this pared down existence has helped me find clarity in my daily life, and treasure the indulgences I choose to take. Life is simple, but it's rich.
Dreaming together. A few months ago when someone asked what was new with me and Brian, I explained to them where we've been lately and what the future might hold for us. In response, they said, "I hope he appreciates all the sacrifices you've made for him." This sentiment is something I would never hear from someone who knows me (or us) well, but I understand why someone else might say this. On the surface, maybe it might seem like my career has taken a back seat to his. The truth, however, is that Brian and I have always been partners who make decisions together. Yes, his career has taken us to some new and different places, but I love adventure! I would rather life surprise me than bore me, and I abhor the idea of routine as some shiny, ideal kind of existence. Most importantly, every choice we've made about our lives has been the result of a long discussion (usually over wine) and carefully weighing our options. We dream about our future, and the kind of life we want together. We believe in risks and short-term struggles for rewards down the road. We're playing the long game, together.
Accelerated growth. When it comes to art and business, I never want to lose momentum or just coast. This year, I've vowed to push myself to get a lot better at certain things. I started by taking an inventory of weaknesses or general frustrations in terms of my own technical and creative abilities or the gears of my business. It was tough love! I made a list of all the skills I would like to acquire or improve upon, and I created an educational curriculum for each month. I've been reading like crazy and filling up full notebooks with ideas. I've been revisiting old equipment and testing out new techniques. I signed up for a workshop that I'm ecstatic to attend this summer. I don't cut myself any slack. I'm pushing myself in order to hopefully, eventually thrive.
Leaping before the net appears. Everyone has a list of things they want to do. Things that could revolutionize their life. Things that seem too frighteningly ambitious to even begin. I've got that list too. This year, I'm actually starting (one by one) to do those things and go after those goals. I haven't had a safety net since I became a full-time photographer, but I've never looked back since taking the leap into this career. It's scary and it's wonderfully thrilling. I want to continue to leap towards seemingly unreachable things and organize crazy projects in order to do so. The casting call I announced last week was related to some of these projects. I'm so touched by everyone who wrote to me, and though I'm still in the process of assigning potential models to projects, it's well under way. Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered their time.