Last year I heard about this idea to embrace a word for the year instead of making resolutions. Let me be honest here, I thought it was silly. I continued on with my traditional list making for 2016, but one new thing I added was to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments and blessings (which we will continue to do every year). So now that 2016 is almost over, I am reflecting on the year. During this process I realized I did have a word without intentionally creating a word.
How about that? So I thought the word thing was silly, yet I was doing it anyway! My word was ‘balance’. It’s the word that plagued me all year. All I wanted to do was find some balance and I thought that achieving balance would equate to happiness and harmony. However, ‘balance’ seemed to translate to ‘juggle’. Nothing was changing or improving if anything, it was getting worse. If only I could figure out a way balance everything better. I could have it all including happiness and harmony. I wasn’t getting it. While a clown at the circus can juggle 5 balls and effortlessly add in more as you toss them his way, it doesn’t work that way with life. I didn’t need balance at all, I needed change.
I wouldn’t consider last year a failure at all. I learned lessons. I had good intentions and tried but I was missing some pieces. With the help of my husband and support system, I think I am in a better place to find harmony this year. I am embracing a word officially and hopefully this word will help get me there. My word is ‘quality‘. I think about this life often. What do I want from it? There is so much noise in the world in general and within my industry. All I seem to do is compare myself and my life with those around me. This is in part my nature, in part our world. Because of this, I am often losing myself and my true life desires. I get distracted by the pictures that others are painting around me of their desires and definitions of happy. I need to refocus on my definition of quality of life. Life is not about quantity, but instead quality. 2017 will be about improving the quality of my life, my family, my relationships, my work and my well being.
So how am I going to do this whole word business? I’ve done very little research on the matter and may continue to do a little more. My hope is that this one word sits in the back of my mind all the time. When I need to make a decision, I will consider how it will affect the quality of my life, my husband and kids’ lives.
RELATIONSHIPS: I want to have incredible relationships with my husband and children. While we aren’t that far off, I need to prioritize them and the quality of our time together. It doesn’t even have to be in big ways, the little ways count too. When my husband and I watch tv together, we should cuddle instead of just sitting at opposite ends of the couch. I want to make time to teach my kids some more life skills and listen to them better. I’m always working or my head is distracted with work that they truly don’t get 100% mom. I may not have a million friends, but I want to invest in the friendships I do have. I adore my friends and they make me want to be a better person. I need to find time to go out to lunch with them or sit on their living room floor and connect over a glass of wine. They matter to me and so I need to be sure I am showing them that.
“They aren’t going to remember the extra stuff I was able to buy,
they will only remember the time they didn’t get.”
WORK: I plan on cutting back on work… A LOT. I mean who does that? How many photographers are out there hustling? Seriously the word hustle is like the photography community catch word. We wear the word “busy” like a badge of honor and if we aren’t swamped we aren’t successful. That is fine for them and while playing that game the past few years, I’ve realized it’s just not working for me. I’m so grateful for the business I’ve built and all of my amazing clients, but it’s truly just too much for me. As much as I love what I do, my heart lies more with my family. I am not saying I want to quit what I do, I just can’t do as much of it anymore.
I feel like for the past two years God has been telling me to step back, but fear has kept me from doing it. Would I lose everything I built? Would that time I gave up with my family to build this be for nothing? While on vacation, I read “The Magnolia Story” and it opened my eyes. It gave me courage and permission to have faith that it will all be okay. My family has got to get back to the top of the priority list before it is too late. I have to work and financially contribute, but not to the extent that I have been and working overtime is definitely not needed. At the end of my life, I do not want them to say, “She had a successful business and worked very hard. I wish I had a better relationship with her and was able to spend more time with her.” I have a teenager now! When did that happen? I think we often think teenagers are self sufficient so we can work more because we don’t need to be there as much. I mean, they aren’t putting their binkie in the outlet right? When in reality, they need us there more and are much more work, just in a different way. I need to be a responsible parent and financially provide, but I also need to be present. They aren’t going to remember the extra stuff I was able to buy, they will only remember the time they didn’t get. So I’m taking a leap of faith and cutting back. I’m praying that by cutting back, I won’t in turn lose my whole business and will have the amount of work I need, but I must listen and follow my heart.
When we were driving home from vacation, I was sharing my feelings about work and my intentions with my husband. He said, “By cutting back you should be able to provide a better quality service to the clients you do have and a better version of you.” I never thought about it that way, only considered how it could negatively affect my business to positively affect my family. I didn’t think it would positively impact my business and client relationships. Leave it to the Quality Assurance guy to point that out. 😉 Yes, he likes my word for 2017.
WELL BEING: I have been so busy working, taking care of the house and kids that guess who doesn’t get cared for… me! That’s right, this year I need to take care of myself. If I do not give my body, mind and soul the quality time it deserves, I am no good for anyone. By cutting back on work, I should be able to find the time to exercise, read, etc without feeling like doing those things is taking away from a client or my family. I also need to be a better meal planner and stop resorting to frozen pizza because I was too busy and forgot to take something out of the freezer. Hopefully my new Instant Pot will be my hero rather than frozen pizza.
“I want to thrive, not just survive.”
I know some people really thrive in chaos and schedules that are jammed full of this or that. I make busy times work, I survive and manage. I get things done even if I’m exhausted. I do it with a thumping heart, twitching eyelids (yes it has been physically affecting me), nightmares, heavy heart, tears and smiles. I am grateful for my life, my family, my friends and my accomplishments (that I never dared to dream for). Now I am dreaming for peace, harmony, happiness, and quality. I want to slow down and enjoy the present because we do not know what the future holds. I don’t want to keep losing years because they are so busy they fly by. I want to sit by the pool (gosh even once) this summer and listen to the kids yelling at daddy to throw them higher. I want to deliver galleries faster to my clients and not spend the year apologizing that they have to wait the full promised 2 or 10 weeks. I want to blog and share all the amazing people I get to work with. To quote Joanna Gaines, “I want to thrive, not just survive”. So cheers to 2016, you were amazing and here is to 2017 being even better!