2016, where to begin with you...
I started 2016 off buried under mounds of school work that I thought would never end(22 credit hours my last semester to be exact), a growing business and a deployed husband. Having your husband gone is alot to deal with already because he's the one who does all the work I dont want to do around the house ;) Then add school and work to it, its a miracle I didnt pull a Britney of 2007, just kidding.. kinda. What kept me sane was staying positive, having a goal in mind and sticking to it, and a WHOLE LOT OF COFFEE, after all, I had alot to look forward to in 2016 I just needed to stay focused.
January through May was quite interesting juggling back to back sessions and quick 8 week classes to get done on time. I did manage to keep the dogs alive and the grass mowed through it all so that right there is an accomplishment.
In May I graduated with a degree in Social Science, walked across the stage and never felt more proud of myself. I gained a new form of self confidence. All the papers, all the studying of why people are the way they are and the way they interact in society paid off and I could finally call myself a college graduate(next goal Masters degree but that shall wait).
Right after graduation I headed north to Japan to see my husband that had been gone since November. It was bitter sweet. We traveled around the neighborhoods of Tokyo and Yokohama, and made the best out of the 5 days I had there. Let me just say, I love Japan. I love the culture, the architecture, I love the people, I love the food, and would go back in a heart beat to explore more and Im really sad I didn't give myself more time there. The people of Japan are incredibly nice. I was in a train station during rush hour in Tokyo about to cry because I had NO IDEA which direction to go and out of no where, someone asked if I needed help and showed me to the train. The kindness and humbleness of the Japanese people is incredible which is why I would go back. So my advise, if you can go to Japan, GO!
Half way through the year, and already so much had happened. Graduation-Check. Go to Japan-Check. Jacob's homecoming-check. Now we were finally together and able to spend some quality time together. We spent our 3rd Anniversary getting dive certified. If you're living on Guam and you're not dive certified, you're not living. Unless you have an extreme fear of the water, then I understand, but you're completely missing a whole different world under there. My husband now plans his entire weekends around diving, but of course weekends are when I book the most sessions so he's quickly surpassed me.
August through December was eventful. I turned 26, and then the Holiday Season began. Note to self-start sessions early for Christmas specials. But I survived! We celebrated our first Christmas together by taking a week trip to Saipan and diving the beautiful waters. If I thought Guam was small, Saipan is even smaller but has so much to offer. The diving was incredible, and when we were not in the water we were exploring some of the most historic spots of WW2 that occurred on Saipan. We went to The Last Japanese Outpost, Suicide and Banzai Cliff, saw Bird Island, Kalabera Cave and the Grotto. The diving though was by far my favorite. We got up close and personal with a few White Tip Sharks and Eagle Ray's, oh and of course some turtles! It was the best way to spend Christmas!
In between all the regular life, I still continued to grow my business. In total I counted over 150 sessions. If you're a photographer and reading this, you're probably having a mini stroke at the amount of stress and editing that it was! And believe me it was intense, but I didn't really feel the effects until it was that "slow period" that happens every few months. I worked my little butt off, but something positive that came out of it was learning my style and finding where my heart is when it comes to photography. There are some photographers who do it all, and I realize that my heart isn't in every genre of photography, and that is ok! I want to be able to make perfect or close to perfect the art that I make. If you're making a living out of the creative arts, you must LOVE every aspect of what you do or you will not be successful. I found the areas that I loved and that is where I shine as a photographer. I was able to get my editing style down pat, and become more in tune with what I expect from myself during each session. I am looking forward to 2017 in so many different ways. I plan to NOT book as much, give more time to my clients and help them see the value of their investment. I need to also put my creative concepts into play more! This is something I didn't have time to do in 2016 because I booked so much back to back. I really think that even though 2016 was such an amazing year for my business, I really plan on in 2017 to enhance everything, to not be afraid and to really push my artistic abilities as a photographer.
So to wrap up this year, its been a good one. I call it the year of growth and strength and I certainly can not wait to see where 2017 takes me in not only my personal life but behind the camera as well. My resolutions are not only to make 2017 a better version of 2016, but to remember to take some time out for myself, sit on the beach and enjoy a good book every now and then. I had a lot on my plate in 2016, so Im looking forward to 2017 being a bit more relaxed(hopefully).