2017 – A Review – The Good, The Bad, The Weird

I have been thinking about this post for a while now.

Truth be told – I have been avoiding my website. I was embarrassed to log-in this morning.

Looking around at it – it is just this shell.  A hull. A few months ago in haste, I stripped it clean and told myself that I would come back and work on it – but never did. I had high hopes to try something new, to re-work my website into something…anything and naturally logged off everything – social media, Facebook, Instagram. All of it.

Why?

2017.

Yes, in a nutshell – it was 2017. I want to be real, honest and frank. There were some amazing points to 2017. It was a great year…but in the same breath…it was an interesting year. In terms of photography, social media and all things related – I completely burnt myself out. I have no one to blame but me, myself and I for a series of events that eventually turned me into a social media hermit. But I have to say, I am glad it all happened the way it did.

Looking back to the beginning of 2017 – I set some lofty goals to chase after all kinds of things. I wanted lots of clients. I wanted lots of likes and shares. I wanted to be published. I wanted to be seen. I wanted to be heard. I wanted my name in print. I wanted my photos to be seen. See a trend? I certainly wanted a lot. And it really had a whole lot to do with wanting, wanting and wanting…more, more and more and all of it had to deal with me and only me. In turn – I found myself spending countless hours posting, pitching, writing, liking, brainstorming – all in the hopes for someone, anyone to run with my ideas, like my photos, see my work, gain a follower. Something. Anything. At the time I wouldn’t admit to any of this – because in my mind it was all part of what I  needed to be doing – but looking back…I am slightly embarrassed.  My work became sloppy. I became uninspired. I wasn’t taking photos for the right reasons. It was so much work for nothing in return. And soon my camera didn’t bring me the same joys.

I knew I needed to change ALL of that.

As I write this – I can only imagine how this makes me sound and look. I want to be clear – I was authentic in my posts. I cared very much about my work. I just became so overly involved with creating and chasing after something that in my heart I knew was never there.  I just needed to have a heart to heart with myself. I needed to be honest. I needed to get back to reality. Real life. Not the life I thought I was creating on social media. Not to what I thought others wanted to see or what others might think of me. Ugh.

In the middle of all of this – I was still able to find new hobbies and joys. Health and fitness, eating clean and working out. But social media still crept in and almost took hold of that too. You see – where I was slowly closing doors on things with my photography (I now miss these things and will slowly get back to them in the new year.) I filled that void with other things. (i.e posting to social media WAAAAAAAAY too much.) I quickly learned that if I wanted to remain true to myself and love the hobbies and joys in my life – I needed to make some massive changes in terms of my social media habits.

Why am I sharing this?

Call it accountability, call it an explanation, call it whatever you will – but in my opinion – after having a number of experiences over this past year – including online bullying and other interesting experiences – I just couldn’t see the end game in any or it. For any goals that were set – it didn’t make sense or add up to me at all. All of that time I spent worry about hashtags, reach, algorithms, interesting posts, photos and blah, blah, blah – was time I could have spent with my son and husband, reading, being in the sunshine, going to the beach, learning a new recipe, helping others in need… I could go on and on. All of that time. While I don’t believe in regrets – I am sad for a lot of time I spent in 2017 posting about myself and other various topics that now seem out of character. Like I said – I am absolutely glad it all happened the way it did. It was the wake up call our family needed.

Because of it all. We are ending 2017 on a high note. Less time on social media. More time with each other. More time enjoying the things we love, getting back to our roots, our joys, our core values. I have been shooting a lot more and feeling more confident in my photography. I know I will never release a book, breakout, learning material or have photos that will win awards or be “viral.” I don’t want that anymore. All I want is to capture this tender and sweet time in our lives. I don’t need stamps of approval, badges or critiques. I love my work. It hangs on our walls in our home. That is all that matters.

As far as other goals for 2018 – this will be the year of NO. No groups, no extra projects, no pressure. I plan to continue my 365 because it brings me more joy than I could ever express. I really want to get back to my journalistic roots and write more and will. At the top of this list – fixing up this sorry website. And if you are still reading this long ass post – sorry for some of those asshole posts. 2017, was weird. Good, but kind of weird, in a “I was just figuring some stuff out and I finally, finally, finally found my happy medium, don’t have to worry about hashtags anymore, social media isn’t a chore, I now have so much time to do all the things, man there are so many good books out right now, I love Crossfit, who has time for 3-5 posts a day…holy crap.”

And…it wouldn’t be a year in review post if I didn’t share some of my favorites from 2017…SO. Here they are…

(P.S. I did the top 9 thing and was so embarrassed with my posts (refer above) that I am picking out my own favorites from my Project 365.)