December 30, 2019

2019 in Review


Usually around this time, I can’t believe how fast the year has flown by. But this year is different. I cannot believe it’s only been 12 months since ringing in 2019 because it truly feels like a different lifetime.

At the beginning of the year I started peeling back the layers around mindset and energy work, which has been hugely influential this entire year.

All through the first quarter of 2019, I was literally working nonstop, took little to no breaks throughout my day and forgot how to do *anything* for fun. I was charging sooooo little for my work and gaining traction, but I was not taking care of myself as a human. I felt so much guilt when I wasn’t working and couldn’t get through the night without an intense stress dream. I woke up with anxiety daily and I figured that was just “the hustle.”

In March, I broke up with my longterm, live-in boyfriend when I wasn’t able to brush the feeling of being unsettled & unhappy under the rug anymore. We had planned a trip to NYC for the weekend after, and I decided to go alone, which was singlehandedly one of the worst weekends of my life. I cried and cried and cried on airplanes, subway platforms, in coffee shops, in restaurants. ALL the emotions, all the drama. There were SO many things that made it a horrible time, that looking back on it, it’s comical to me. We got back together, as you do when you still have 3 months left on your lease, but I ended things for good in mid-may, before signing another lease together.

photo by Michael & Carina

Without an ounce of ill-will towards my-ex, that was the single most important decision I made this year. It was ballsy and terrifying and didn’t make that much sense on paper, but I knew in my gut it was time to relentlessly prioritize my needs, personal & relational.

A month later, I was on bumble, looking for a fun summer date. I swiped right on a BEAUTIFUL man this crazy, thick, long hair, who had something about wine, dogs & fighting in his profile.

We met and went to lunch and the next day I called my dad and said “I found the one.” It was the most instant, magnetic, connection and I’m not sure if I have the timeline right but I’m pretty sure we had the “I think we might be soulmates” conversation over shots of tequila before we officially started dating 11 days after we met. Hands down, this was one of the BEST plot twists of 2019. The entire summer was a golden hour dream that I don’t even want to put into words.

On a whim of serendipity, in July I was able to move into the dreamiest 1 bedroom apartment in a new neighborhood. It’s a whole story behind it, but there was so much magic surrounding this lease. I have enormous bay windows in my living room, a rainbow tile bathroom, a kitchen with no counters and a teeny tiny, serene bedroom. Church bells are always going, I steal cherry tomatoes from my neighbors front yard in the summer, and while it’s still so close to the city parts of Norfolk, it’s SO quiet here. It is perfect and I am so grateful every time I pay rent that I get to live and work in such an incredible space.

Side note: when you put together a mentally taxing first quarter with a crazy, fun, transient second quarter, something falls off. That something was my business. I took an unintentional hiatus from may through august because my brain was completely fried, I was disenchanted with sitting at my laptop all day, and didn’t yet know how to create boundaries & balance while running a business. It’s hard not to want to kick myself for that lapse, but I’m (obviously) back at it and running hard, but am also so much more aware of bringing balance into my weeks.

In October I quit my job waiting tables, which was my only real goal for 2019. It was on a whim, but I got a ton of signs from the universe that it was time. It was a rough transition, going from the camaraderie of a restaurant staff to living alone AND working alone. I’m incredibly introverted so it was nice to get my social interactions in while making my $$$, a 2 birds, one stone deal. Now that I’m a 1 person team, I’ve made sure to peel myself off of the couch to go work in coffee shops, go to the damn networking events, and be VERY intentional about getting time in with friends, and am finding accountability partners to check in with for this upcoming year. Entrepreneurship can be really, really lonely and I was not expecting the transition to be as rocky as it was.

One of the sweetest surprises of the year came when my film lab called me and told me I won a spot at their workshop in Alabama. I made the drive down for 4 days of in the company of some of the sweetest & most talented photographers, all brought together by the love of film. Still not over all that magic.

I can’t end this post without thanking each and every person who has supported my business this year, through all of the ups and downs and turbulence and growing pains. I am so so so grateful thinking of all my clients, the Norfolk community and people all over the world who cheer me on from afar on the internet. I feel so LOVED. thank you thank you thank you.

Ultimately, 2019 has been a mixed bag but the good has FAR outweighed the bad. My word for 2020 is action and while I won’t be sharing my specific goals publicly, I’ve got my sights set on big things for the new year!!! Happy 2020!