Viewing Archive: December 2011 | View all recent posts
Friday, December 23, 2011 | Personal
I'm sorry this blog has been so quiet. I've been busy, and if you read this post, you will have a glimmer of understanding where a lot of my spare time gets spent these days. And note: this post has been months in the making.
I awoke early this morning to gushes of angry winds beating against my window, and even angrier rain torridly unleashing itself outside. I planned this amazing full day with lots of things to do, and an excursion to the country, but those plans obviously changed. So I did the next best thing and decided to sit in bed all day... thats right - ALL day. I haven't given myself this luxury in about a year, but oh it's been fun with my laptop in hand and filling my ever growing lists of inspiration boards, only taking a break to have lunch with my sister and admire baby clothes. haha, no I'm not having a child - they are for my incredibly ADORABLE niece who is just getting cuter and funnier every time I see here. Anyway, I know I run the risk of sounding like a complete nerd with my anti-social like sunday antics today, but believe me, if you could see my calendar for the next month, you'd hopefully be saying to me "Jen, you are a wise woman" :P
It's now sitting to be about 630 in the evening and I'm astonished that I've lasted this long not moving from my spot. It's a sunday afternoon and Sydney, being typical sydney of late, has decided to go all premenstrual on us and give us a barrel ful of rain, and I am thinking about the year. As we are nearing the tail end of 2011, that inevitably brings thoughts of the last 12 months that have run past.
2011 has been a year of change. A year of compromise. A year of re-prioritizing. A year of growth. A year of challenge and being stretched beyond what I knew was comfortable. There have been moments of great contentment, and also moments of great pain and tears in between. A year of learning. A year of learning the art of balance (I know I keep saying this every year, but this year I feel like I have finally gotten SOMEWHAT of a wrap around this elusive concept). It really is an artform. I feel like I have come out changed. I am not the same person that 2010 saw. Yet at the same time, I am still familiar. You know, I still talk the same, laugh at the same silly jokes, I still love the same foods, and wear the same kind of fashion, but the big bits are different. Or you could say, resurrected. Things I believed before I became a photographer, (which were forgotten in the overrated hype of success, the cloudiness of recognition, and the torrid flurry of busyness) such as family first, rest, love over career, making time for people, God and Church, seemed to have been buried in a winter that lasted 3 years. And only in 2011, the seeds have finally surfaced and are growing back.
So... while I won't go into details, lets just say the end of 2010 came with a bag full of lemons and mistakes that made me realize that you can have all the success, recognition, work, fame and money, and you can still feel hollow. In the process of chasing after what the world screams and whispers to you is important, and getting caught up in competition, my world kind of fell apart in ways that left me broken. I realized that I had been working above and beyond everything to look after my business and my clients, but in doing that I didn't have everything else. I felt at the end of that year, I had to make the choice to either continue the way I was doing (which I knew meant more success, money, and recognition for my work), or make changes in my life and my work to give space for the things that really mattered to sit back at the forefront of everything I did. I chose the latter. I won't say I have mastered this... not by any means this year. But I am learning, and hopefully being constantly sharpened by those around me. The lessons have definitely been hard this year... they still are, but I continue to persevere because the fruits are good. To understand the weight and challenge of this, you will have to understand me... you see I am a driven person. And I mean DRIVEN. But I've also learned that driven can only get you so far, and it doesn't guarantee happiness or lasting contentment.
I've learnt that success is not about more fame or more money or having a million people tell you they love you (most of you will agree in your heads, but will probably continue to chase them anyway - I just hope you do not lose too much of yourself in the process), but success to me is happiness and love. And I find that in my God, my husband, my family and friends, and living a life that tries to put them first. And I'll re-iterate it again... I have definitely NOT mastered it, but I am a canvas that is a work in progress that will hopefully be more and more complete the more I add to it. I am so thankful to God for His continual provision not just of work, but of the people he always seems to bring into my life to teach and spur me ahead to be better... it has mattered more than I can ever express, especially during the times when I have felt I couldn't do it. Your wisdom, honesty, and sometimes rebuke have always kept me grounded, and focused, and encouraged.
I suspect 9/10 people will learn this lesson the hard way. Because the glimmer and shine of success is so seductive. That makes me sad. Because little do they know that the secret is, build a life that focuses on what is really important, and let you business fit AROUND that. Not the other way around. You will be a better person and photographer as a result. Don't believe me? Try it. You can definitely go the other way - for sure! But I suspect you will be losing, more than you think you will actually gain in that process. Trust me, I am one standing on the other end looking back, and I know. And to those who are thinking JSP has 'lost' as a result, I can safely and surely say that I am happier as a person, our team has grown and we have WONDERFUL people in it, we are still BUSY (but in a good way!), I love the jobs I'm shooting more than I ever did, and as a result of the time I've allowed my soul and life to breathe, my eyes see differently now and I've noticed my photography style has changed also in the last 12 months, in a direction I'm much more happy with, and I have TIME now to think about how I can better look after my clients :)
So, 2011 has felt like puberty... really. Growing pains, maturing in many ways, change, but in a good way. I am definitely not the same person I was, but I am trying and learning to be better. I am now curious to see what 2012 brings now that 12 months of training on 'training wheels' are now over....looking ahead at the next 12 months and what they can possibly bring, what is already there is good. There is potential for an amazing year on both the professional and personal front :) I know I just have to keep going and doing what I have promised to do. I guess the dot dot dots terrify me, as I am a person who likes being in control, but God teaches me to have faith, and to walk in His hands and wing, when I feel blind, because what He promises is good. I hold onto that where I am most scared.
So to everyone who has shaped and been part of my 2011, THANK YOU. You have changed my life. I hope you continue to have faith in me as I step into 2012. I promise, with God's grace and strength, I will work hard. You know what I mean :)
And since no post is complete without a photo, I thought I'd leave you with this one. Sunset at Amalfi, during our recent trip to Italy. I remember that night the husband and I walked through a long path to get to this one restaurant to enjoy a really relaxing and chilled out night, sipping wine with the sound of the ocean water crashing gently beyond us, munching down on some yummy food, and chatting to the restaurant owner about football and his life on the island. Remembering that night makes me smile :)
Merry Christmas and have a happy new year everyone. I want to send you the same wish that I have for myself - I hope that all of you have a beautiful holiday season filled with joy, love, and loved ones, and I hope your 2012 is filled with an abundance of those very same things.