It’s 6:30 am, Friday January 6th, 2017. Happy New Year.
I’m wide awake because my mind and body are still in a different time zone, Greenwich Mean Time to be accurate. Having returned yesterday afternoon from a fun-filled festive season surrounded by family and friends in England, I’m terribly confused as to what day of the week it is. I went to bed early feeling drained and despairingly sad, however, despite my fuzzy mind I managed to make a solemn promise that today, whatever day it is, will be a new beginning. And so here I am.
The idea of resolutions and fresh starts is always a difficult one for me. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year and the pain of it being over once more is something that I struggle to overcome every January. Couple that with heartbreaking goodbyes after an overseas vacation to spend time with loved ones and I’m an inconsolable mess for several days upon our return to the United States. I recently shared a piece titled “Home” on Cottage Hill Magazine’s online journal. As my husband held me tight and wiped away my tears yesterday evening, I remembered that despite leaving a sizable piece of my heart in England every time I visit, home is now here in Virginia and so I woke this morning ready to begin contemplating the year ahead.
In order for me to think strategically and sensibly about the future, however, I need to spend a little time pondering the past; 2016 to be exact. Goal setting and scribbling down resolutions for the upcoming year has to begin with evaluating my successes and accomplishments over the past 12 months. Equally, I think it’s important to also note some of my shortcomings and less successful feats so as to be realistic about what lies ahead in 2017.
I’m naturally drawn to considering the things that went wrong and the first most obvious regret as I mull over last year is not writing as much as I would have liked to. Perhaps if I’d spent more time writing I may better recall the past 365 days that seem to have just vanished before my very eyes! All jokes aside, I love to write and given that my blog began as a place to jot down experiences and memories; a diary if you will, it saddens me that there are so few recollections here from 2016.
With that being said, last year saw me work along side Jodi & Kurt Photography to create some of my most favorite content to date, which in turn helped to shape who I am going into 2017. My blog had a small face lift in the Fall and after countless hours of tinkering and tweaking, I finally reached a place of personal satisfaction. Upon seeing my written work published by Cottage Hill Magazine, I discovered a name for myself and a definition for what I do after feeling lost for quite some time.
Reflecting on my culinary accomplishments of 2016 makes me both shudder and smile simultaneously. There were sleepless nights of food preparation and moments of anguish as I embarked upon projects I’d barely even dreamed of undertaking; from catering a friend’s business relaunch brunch t0 baking a three-tier wedding cake. At times I asked how and why I had gotten myself into such commitments. Tears and tantrums aside, however, I overcame the obstacles I faced in the kitchen while expanding my culinary knowledge and I was honored to share my own creations with others.
On another positive note, I travelled more than ever last year. I saw the bright lights of New York City on four separate occasions, I finally made it to Charleston after longing to visit this jewel of the South for as long as I can remember and last but by no means least, I returned to England in the summer for the first time in five years. There was no shortage of adventure when it came to experiencing the sights, sounds and scents of places old and new, near and far. My wanderlusting heart was wonderfully happy in 2016.
I was less happy, however, with my ability to capture these wanderings on camera. On several occasions I shared my frustrations with my good friend and employer, Jodi. I desperately wanted my images to convey all that I’d seen and experienced while on vacation. I wanted to capture a sense of place and to create a feeling of nostalgia when looking through my photographs. Defeat hit me hard when it came to photography and I had a tough time with constantly falling short of my own expectations. I still struggle with this today and after looking through my images from our Christmas visit to the United Kingdom, I can already feel the disappointment welling in the pit of my stomach. Last year I spent a lot of time reminding myself I’ve come a long way; I didn’t even know how to shoot in Manual mode last January!
Looking back on the past 12 months and everything they included, from becoming Jodi & Kurt Photography’s third shooter to seeing my own words published online, I definitely feel proud. While recalling some of my greatest achievements as well as one or two less than successful ventures from 2016, I can’t help feeling that last year was somewhat defining for me. I discovered more of who I am and what I want to be. My highlights and accomplishments were of course peppered with moments of despair, mistakes and remorse, however, the ability to recognize regret is undoubtedly motivational for making a change as the New Year begins.
After spending some time looking back, it wasn’t difficult to create this solid list of resolutions to focus on in 2017. I’ve kept them short and simple because I don’t believe any of them require a reason or an explanation. When I need to be reminded of my goals throughout the coming year, a quick glance at this list will hopefully get me back on track, after all, like puppies aren’t just for Christmas, resolutions are not just for January.
Happy New Year everyone and best of luck to those who have established ambitions and aspirations, no matter how big or small, for the year ahead!
At least once a week.
Anything and everything.
Because I love to.
Procrastination gets you nowhere.