Kite-Eating Tree

The Death of 2012, A Retrospective

Lord I don't know which way I am going
Which way the river's gonna flow
It just seems that upstream I keep rowing
Still got such a long way to go

There are only a few hours left of this year. All I can say is good riddance. I am leaving behind one of the hardest years of my life. Not entirely unrewarding, at least, but not a year I'd want to relive for anything. I burnt out more thoroughly than I think I have ever burnt out before, in a much deeper, more profound sense than merely lack of energy. Every moment I could use to work, I worked, and the rest, save those few good moments that happen in spite of the worst of it all splitting shifts with my relaxation, or should I say, procrastination. It all felt like procrastination, anyway. That's what too much work with no defined beginning and ending does to a person. The futility of my best efforts to make my life feel controllable has been the worst of this year
If I had to pick a word for 2012, it would have to be "overwhelmed."

Oh, oh, I can't even take it in
Oh, oh, I left my heart in Metropolis

In 2012, I shot 11 weddings and over 50 sessions and I booked 7 more already for 2013, with more to come for sure. I made more than 400% of my income of the previous year and then decided to move to a different city again. I started therapy, and none too soon. I vanquished over half the goals I set in therapy and I'm still working on the others. It's the accomplishment I am most proud of, though when I speak of 2012 it's usually in business terms. It's easier to see a vastly larger income and stable small business as success than being a quarter of the way up the hill to having one's life on track. Doing them both at the same time, well, that's something to be proud of for sure. My tradeshow was reasonably successful and I think next year will be successful in an even bigger way, more depth of success than just having clients. I decided to hire a friend to do some work for me in 2013 because I was just too overwhelmed.

My words were cold and flat
And you deserve more than that

I blogged just a handful of times. I've been feeling very private this year, so I don't talk much about that growth to most people. The business is easier to share about, the shell of my life, not the soft centre. I became less obsessed with capturing myself because most of life was something I didn't want to remember. As life becomes more beautiful, I am sure that I will want to communicate it again

Make me your radio
Turn me up when you feel low
This melody was meant for you

I was starting to really look forward to Paul being done school. At the beginning of the year I had just gone a new smartphone and bluetooth, and a proper office printer with scanning, which I now can't remember living without. I finally had found a family doctor in Edmonton and he referred me to a dietician, which helped me to get a handle on what normal eating really is. I was reading quite a bit. I shot the Rehab Med Photo Booth, which was a ton of fun and ended up netting me two more photo booths in 2012.

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage that you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

I remained fully and completely in love with my wonderful husband, despite a year that was very hard on us. I spent many months away from Paul and we each suffered for the loss of each other, and longing punctuated my days. I hoped for the future and clung to that hope. We felt the sting of not having things go our way over and over again. I cherished the moments we had together.

Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs with sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together

I traveled. I spent hundreds of hours on the highway. I went to the Carribean for the first time, and shot a destination wedding for the first time. I sat in the backseat of a fabulous convertible watching the moonlit path over the ocean's waves and grinning from ear to ear with my true love beside me. What an adventure.

I was unconscious, half asleep
The water is warm 'til you discover how deep
I wasn't jumping, for me it was a fall
It's a long way down to nothing at all

I listened to songs from every year of my past, and new ones too, talked on the phone to friends and family and Paul, and listened to several amazing audiobooks. When I wasn't in forced relaxation mode on the road, I spent more of the year than I care to remember in worrying about money and feeling rushed. It was the overwhelmingness that made me change my life the most - I made enormous strides in the organization of my life and business that have changed everything about the way I work drastically. Programs and plugins like Evernote combined with The Secret Weapon, Streak, Boomerang, and giving in to writing almost a hundred form emails for various business needs, plus workflow templates and consistent actions. With all these things, I have armoured myself against the enemy - time. Time warps my life until I both fear and rejoice at the coming day when it slows down all the way to eternity.

Every voice in my head shouted 'yes' and 'no'
Every freight train of thought fought to stop and go
Keep the pace just in case all the magic dies
'Cause this is driving me crazy

I finally started to value myself. I questioned everything I thought in the strange instability of knowing that my own mind couldn't be trusted. I started down a frustrating but progressive road of spiritual discovery with more direction than I had the year before. I made my peace with organic food and made a large shift in the content of my diet, though the quantity wasn't something I could work at enough yet. My spring and summer were madness of work that passed in a blur I can barely even remember, and now winter comes with a slower pace.

I am vindicated, I am selfish, I am wrong
I am right, I swear I'm right
I swear I knew it all along
And I am flawed but I am cleaning up so well
I'm seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

I was sick a lot last year. Just a ton of stress, I think - partly the stress of making thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of mistakes… and then I made a hard decision to uproot and move again, and it tore my heart out the second time, but I think it was the right thing. I have already felt quite settled here - it's not the same as moving somewhere completely new, but it feels different now. The world feels bigger around me. And the night Paul got offered this job was filled with so much joy after such a hard slog. I got lost repeatedly in really stressful ways.

Cause what you've got is gold
I know you're gold
I don't need the stars in the night
I've found my treasure
All I need is you by my side
So shine forever

I started trying to be creative in the little moments I could, growing like a plant in a sidewalk. I got a new camera, two fantastic new lenses that I am always using, and a new sense of self. I started taking photos for myself again. I made good use of new winter boots I found on sale that helped me to feel confident on icy streets, something I hadn't had in times past. I finally put up some photos from our wedding. I spoke to a high school class about photography, which was really fun.

In a little while, this hurt will hurt no more
In a little while, I'll be home, love

As the year drew to a close, sorrow seemed to permeate the lives of friends, making my fight against seasonal depression harder than usual. Christmas passed me by with little spirit, little rejoicing, but what little there was gained me much. I watched one of my best friends get married and heard great news from another. And I helped someone in a big way. Paul and I pet-sit for a cat for the first time and started getting used to being an Aunt and Uncle thanks to Sarah, Paul's sister.  

Every hand let me go that I tried to hold
Every warm-hearted love left me freezing cold
Keep the pace just in case all the magic dies
'Cause this is driving me crazy

I had an idea chosen for an Awesome Foundation pitch, which felt good! I dumpster dived a ton of stuff - chairs, shelving units, a television, and more. My friend Janta visited for a whole week and I finally saw Coldplay in concert, and Cathleen visited too. I went to, and fell in love with, the Canada Photo Convention. I was just asked to be their sponsorship solicitor, and I happily accepted - one of the first major volunteer positions I've taken in years. I threw away a suitcase with a lot of history.

Sing slow-ow-ow-ow it down
Through chaos as it swirl
It's us against the world

I had a somewhat disappointing experience at my first ComicCon but I was within a hundred yards of Sir Patrick Stewart and James Marsters, which is crazy cool just by itself. I became a zombie at a Steampunk LARP. Between that and ComicCon, watching Big Bang Theory, and catching up on Whedon's TV shows, you can be pretty certain my nerdiness is in no question this year. Fantasy has been a wonderful refuge from the hard slog of life this year. I watched many seasons of TV shows because I was too exhausted to do much of anything else in my spare time. 

Oh oh oh, as far as I can see
You're the only one, the only one who can get to me
Like a hijacked plane or a runaway train
Or a speeding bullet, there's no stopping this

Someone totalled my favouritest, most beloved car because they were talking on a cell phone and forgetting to stop at a red light. As serviceable as the car we purchased is, I can never be really satisfied with it after having loved my Mazda hatchback so much. Our new car is the Tardis car. We despair that we can fit everything in it, and somehow it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. I am glad that the car is reliable and fits everything we need and purrs along the highway. Really, my biggest complaints are that it is beige and has fake wood panelling. But someday perhaps it will deserve my custom license plate! I've always wanted one and now I had an excuse when we moved back to Saskatoon to get one related to my business. Eventually, I'll actually have a car to ADMIRE.

Lift me up out of these blues
Won't you tell me something true
I believe in you

I moved into my first house with Paul. I got my very first dog who was mine, and not just the family pet - which I lost to cancer this year. I spent many months (at least since July, but really even longer) waiting in advent for this puppy before he was even born. The waiting paid off, Murphy is falling in love with us as we fall in love with him. Though we do call him the Poop Monster. =) He doesn't know what it means, so we can say it in dulcet tones and he'll just love us even more. =) I got terribly, horribly sick on the way there and we ended up in a very nice hotel room that I barely got to enjoy. Well, I appreciated the bathroom.

Our dog ate Paul's first big paycheque from work - or ripped it up, but not so much that I couldn't painstakingly find all the pieces, tape it back together, and have it cashed the next day.

This home was provided for us with miraculous speed and accuracy of vision - not only here, but in Edmonton as well. I love my new home here - not so much Saskatoon, but the people and the house and the dog and the white picket fence which we actually have. It's a paradise of reality that I can't wait to really sink into. These next few months things are going to get easier and easier. I can't wait. Bring it on, 2013. It has to get better than this. I have to hope for more.

I'm just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company
It's just a moment
This time will pass
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