Looking back at 2009, I would have to say that it was a great and unpredictable year for the most part. I didn't go to Guatemala to do volunteer work as originally planned since fall of 2008! But I did have an awesome 2.5 week vacation in BC that saw me complete the Grouse Grind (oh the things I do to save money!), zip line through the rain forest and scale Mt Whistler!
After reviewing what I set myself out to do at the beginning of 2009, I think I was fairly consistent with some of those expectations: I did volunteer quite a bit more this year as well as gave a few people a chance to shoot with me for a couple of weddings for the experience.
Never did I think about moving from my condo and its ideal location, let alone buy a house in the same year. But in May, there was a tiny little spark of "maybe I'll just visit some of the nearby show homes for decor ideas" to which it inflamed to "I think the opportunity is now to upgrade from my current situation into something, bigger and better!" and so the gears in my head started moving "hmmm.. I wonder how much I can get for my place so that I can use a portion of the equity towards a new house?"
From this experience, I found the whole process of selling a property, finding a property, getting involved in multiple offers and the moving in between, quite stressful at times: why isn't my place selling? they are asking how much for their property? the seller wants more than the listing price compared to other houses in the area? what do you mean that house is already sold? why is there nothing available that meets my criteria?. Added to that, you have the mixed emotions of frustration, disbelief, anxiety, disappointment... you get the idea how taxing this process can be. Now if you include this stress to the current stresses of work (the day job), photography (photo shoots, post processing, album layouts) and life in general, it does take it's toll to the point where you just want to escape and take a breather. Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury to do that.
Photography-wise, I will admit that I somewhat lost my passion to shoot during this period as it was really the last thing on my mind. Even after I stopped shooting in November to catch up with everything, I didn't feel the need to pick up my camera nor did I miss not shooting. The more I think about it, I don't believe I've updated my equipment (e.g., lenses, lights, accessories etc) this past year. Considering that I use photography as an escape and to have fun, I knew this wasn't the position I want to be in for long.
It wasn't until just recently when I perusing through Indigo (and it's timely 30% off hardcover books) that I came across 2 books that would rekindle that sense of wanting to shoot again and to use these books as resources and inspirations:
I just love the images in these books and I can certainly see myself referencing a couple of images from these great photographers for weddings, lifestyles and personal shoots. The images look effortless, stunning, exquisite and timeless - something that I always strive for whenever I do I shoot.
On the same note, these are some of the goals that I've set for myself for this upcoming year:
- Always look for that sense of balance - find a way to balance my personal life and professional life in a way that's good for me and for the people I shoot for.
- Create more senses of harmony in my environment - I will admit there were times when I was in my condo and I didn't feel motivated to work, let alone be in the office section. I did, however, felt really relaxed in my living area and didn't want to get off that oh so comfortable couch! Those that came over to my place have told me that the living room area has this inviting sense of comfort and tranquility with it's earth tone colors and decor.
That being said, I've recently found myself reading quite a bit about Feng Shui and creating spaces where there is positive energy through placement of certain furnishings, complimented with colors and household items. I have taken those principles and applied it to my new home, little by little, room by room. I like to consider my home a place of sanctuary and a place to relax from the outside world.
- Be more organized - For the 1st time in 2 years, I bought a day timer rather than depend on iCal. And for those that know me, also know how much I like using whiteboards so that I can see what tasks that lay before me.
And if the moving experience taught me anything, you should not let the size of your house deceive you about the amount stuff that you have and accumulated; downsize if possible and keep the things that you really need.
- Manage expectations - I think by having certain expectations in writing, there will be less tendency for miscommunication and disappointment. I find that this will be more practical on the photography business side of things based on the past year's experiences.
- Once in awhile, shoot things for myself - as much as I'm asked to shoot for clientele when hired upon, it's always good to shoot things for yourself. This way, I have a chance to explore my skills and creativity, with no deadlines or unreasonable expectations. I think I found this lacking quite a bit last year, in addition to trying to find those that can me accomplish my vision as it's hard to find someone with the "je ne sais pas" qualities that make you motivated to shoot.
- Stay on board the health train - more so than ever, I found myself getting more focused on my health in the last couple of years and being more active. Last year, I saw myself shave a good 15min off my initial 10K run. When you think about it, 15min is quite a significant amount of time. This year, as suggested by Runner's World, I plan on doing a 5K, 10K, 13K and 15K race in that order. Running the different types of lengths, will actually help me progress and improve my runs through the year as training for a 10K (which I've done for the past while) is quite different than training for a 5K or a 15K in terms of speed and stamina.
I also plan to keep training on the best kept secrets: the TRX and the kettlebells. I've been feeling and noticing the difference ever since and I highly recommend that you look at incorporating these methods in your workout regimen.
If you're interested in joining me during my workouts (gym or runs) feel free to drop me a line as I would more than appreciate the company and common interests.
If you've made it this far of my posting, thanks for reading along. I guess you can consider this long posting as a make up for my lack of postings near the tail end of the year. And as you can see, I do have some lofty and achievable expectations for myself during this new year. Will I be able to keep them? I guess there's only one way to find out and that's to stay tuned!
Best of luck to everyone and their resolutions in 2010!