2014 was, in all intents and purposes, one of the best years of my life. I know that people say that pretty much every year – I’m pretty sure I said it myself last year during my year end wrap up – but honestly, this was the biggest, most exciting year for me as a business.
I’m no good at writing blogs, but I wanted to sit down and really thank you – yes YOU reading this – for the support and encouragement you have given me this year. Not everything was easy this year. I had to learn a lot about what owning a business and being “the boss” means. I had to say goodbye to one of my longest friendships (Note: sometimes you shouldn’t hire your friends, no matter how strong you think your friendship is). I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if it was worth it, was I going to be able to support myself as an adult at some point in time. There were times when I wanted to pack it all in, enroll in a general arts program and do the “normal” education thing because I was so busy and there were so many people who needed something from me I was beyond overwhelmed.
You know what I started to figure out in 2014? It’s going to be okay.
Being a boss isn’t easy. You have to make tough decisions, stand your ground and fight for what you want your business to represent. Sometimes you have to let go of control and trust that your people will make you proud. But, as it turns out, I like that. I like continually striving to be better. I like hearing comments from you guys about my wonderful photographers. It makes me feel so proud.
Saying goodbye to a 10 year friendship. Not fun, not easy. On the other side of it though, I’ve come to realize that I’m happier, less stressed and enjoying my business so much more. It’s not okay to let yourself compromise or be pushed over for the sake of a friendship. I want you all to know that you are better than that and you deserve more. In 2014, I learned that. It’s like a huge weight off your shoulders.
As for being able to support myself in the future. Who knows. I hope so. All I can do is take it one day at a time and count my blessings as I go. So many amazing things happened this year, and it’s honestly all thanks to YOU.
In 2014 I got to witness the 2014 Olympic team be chosen, I spend more nights in hotels than I can count, I burnt a million calories laughing with my people, I started to photograph dance competitions, I did my very first competition in Quebec, I went to Kelowna for my first international competition, I went to PARIS and Bordeaux for the first time, I got to photograph CHALLENGE. Most importantly, I met so many skaters, parents and coaches who were supportive and encouraging and kind and just plain LOVELY. When I meet you guys and hear how you appreciate photos and learn about you as people, it reassures my why I’m doing this. It’s not just about my personal love of taking photos. It’s much more than that. It’s about making connections with you, following your path through the skating world, celebrating your successes and trying to build you up after rough performances.
One of my favourite moments of 2014 was in December at Challenge. A mom of a skater who I met last year at Minto Summer Skate came over with tears in her eyes and thanked me, in her limited English, for taking such beautiful photos of her daughter. This was one moment of hundreds that made my heart so happy and my mind so sure that this was why I’m doing this “photo thing”; to capture those fleeting moments of skaters and dancers and now gymnasts doing what they love so fully.
Thank you. For allowing me to show you what freedom and joy look like. I’m so excited to see what 2015 has in store for you, for me, for the sports we love.
So maybe I’m no good at writing my thoughts down in a cohesive way. But I wanted to try. Because I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your support so much. I also have to thank the wonderful group of people that work for me; Maddie, Jenni, Kris, Kristy, Irene, Paul, Jeff, Sydney. I wouldn’t be anything without you guys.
See you in a rink/theatre somewhere soon!