Last year I stole an idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Kate from The Small Things Blog, and I chose a word to work on all year long. It was GROW. The funny thing is, I think I grew a lot this year, but not in the way I expected. I thought I would work on my fear of heights, or driving in the snow, or generally toughen up, but I haven’t.
I have, however, grown.
This year, I have close to five thousand photos saved in Lightroom. Since I delete more than half of my pictures after import, I estimate that I’ve taken about 10,000 pictures. To me, that is an amazing number. It’s changed the way I look at a photo. Is it crisp? How’s the light? The composition? I’m more critical, so shooting, developing and posting pictures takes more time than it did a year ago, but I’m better at it.
One aspect of photography I worked on this year was staged shoots, and it was frustrating. For Halloween, I bought props and set up backgrounds. I was excited and didn’t think it would be much different than snapping candid photos. It was. I had to shoot and reshoot. I got the lighting wrong and my niece wouldn’t smile. I spent months on it. Hundreds of photos, hundreds of dollars and five photos shoots later, I was happy with three or four of my pictures.
But, that’s something, right?
Last year I joined the leadership team at work. Before I became a member I didn’t know people wrote books on the subject. I assumed good leaders were born. I didn’t realize it was something you could study up on. So, being part of the team at work, I’ve been forced to talk about my feelings, taken personality quizzes and grown. My favorite tidbit? Leaders take 100% responsibility, and not for the good things, but the mistakes. When you’re in charge ultimately what happens is your responsibility. It’s a powerful philosophy! It means that when things go wrong, you can change your behavior and improve the situation. I love this! I’ve been trying to use it not only at work, but in my personal life.
Through blogging I’ve learned how to create a website. It was not an easy task and required numerous live chats with tech support, multiple YouTube videos and a ton of emails. I’m still learning. It’s never ending. But, blogging has also given me a purpose for my photography and my writing. It’s helped me push myself, and grow creatively. I hope, too, that it’s helped people that love their dogs.
Blogging has also taught me humility. I expected that every month the number of hits would grow and that my blog would have thousands of hits per day within a year. That has not been the case. It’s a slow process. I’ve learned that the number of hits per day don’t matter. I do this because I like to write and take pictures and I could talk about dogs forever.
See, I’m growing.
This Year: Be Mindful
I will confess to you that I am a worrier and a planner. I go to yoga once a week to help me with this, and at every class we focus on breathing and being present in the moment. It brings me a sense of peace. I wish I could feel this way all the time. I also got an Apple watch this year, and it reminds me to breathe deeply every few hours. (I love my watch, by the way. Apple is always creating products I never knew I needed.) When I focus on my breath, and slow down, I think more clearly. I feel better and worry less. I am more present. I want to become less judgmental, more focused on the moment. So, that is my goal this year, to become more mindful.
This year, may you grow in unexpected ways, and find peace within. Happy New Year!
Photos are from a two day old litter of lab puppies! My friend’s first breeding!