Has anyone else watched the new Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix? I freaking loved it. Taylor Swift is a straight-up boss. One of the things she touched on was that she constantly has to put out new work to feel successful and that really resonated with me. Sometimes as an artist it feels like it has to be nonstop or nothing and that feeling of failure always seems to be one step behind.
Winter has always been a huge season of change for me. In the wedding business, it is usually when weddings have finished up and I can focus on starting new projects and I have a chance to look back on what worked and what didn’t. It also is a moment for me to catch my breath between wedding seasons. The end of 2019 was absolutely crazy for me. I shot the last wedding of the season on the last day of November and then turned around and jumped on a plane the next day for a photography conference in Virginia with one of my photography heroes, Katelyn James. What a transformative experience meeting my hero and hundreds of other photographers just like me. I’m still processing everything that I learned and experienced.
But there was no time to mull over everything or take a break because we started looking for a house the same day we landed back in California. That was such a crazy process and a roller coaster of emotions. I had no idea what was in store for us when we decided to buy a place. We’ve spent the last few years saving and dreaming. We finally decided to make the plunge during winter when there would be less competition from other buyers in the market. We saw so many places and eventually found a great one, only to lose it when the sellers sold it to someone else. What a heartbreak that was. But a few days later on Christmas Eve, we decided to start looking again and found a dream house in the countryside of Mt Diablo. It is absolutely perfect for us with plenty of land to grow our own fruits and veggies, enough room that both Paul and I have our own offices and lots of room for friends and family to spend time in. Our offer was accepted a few hours after we submitted it and suddenly everything moved quickly and then suddenly we were homeowners. It still feels so strange to say that: yes, I am a homeowner. Even after a few weeks of living here, it still doesn’t feel real.
The day we got the keys, Paul and I began renovations. Ripping up carpet, painting walls, making tiny repairs and changes to the place. Thank goodness we had so many friends and family to help us because it really took a village to get this house ready and move in. Even though we are still unboxing everything, it is really special to take a second to look back on everything that has happened in the last few months. I’ve been so quiet on social media and I have not been as busy with work or shooting new work.
It feels so strange to not have shot a wedding in Dec or Jan especially after coming off of a nonstop wedding season. I’ve been feeling like I haven’t been doing enough, even when we spent long days moving or renovating. It’s so funny how that is. That’s why, when I was watching the documentary, I really felt Taylor Swift’s words about having to be prolific in her work. Which is crazy because even after my most successful year ever and buying a house, I still have that feeling like I should be doing so much more. But I’m making a change to the way I think about work and what makes me feel successful. This winter, instead of the frenzy of working, I’m learning to slow down and enjoy this moment and how far I’ve come. I’ve finally made it to the top of the mountain and instead of thinking about the next mountain to scale, I’m going to sit back and enjoy this view for a little while.