2020 Year In Review

Whew, 2020 was… a lot. 

I’m still processing everything that happened last year and even this year.

After our busiest season ever in 2019, I was looking forward to a fun year filled with engagements and weddings in 2020. Then Covid-19 hit and things got derailed fast. It took me a long while to sort out how I was feeling, mourn for so many lives lost, figure out how to deal with this new world and how to help my wedding couples navigate these radically unexpected twists and turns.

I sat down to write an update about life and my business so many times throughout last year. But in the end, what I really needed was some time. Time to reflect, time to regroup, and time to deal with the state of everything. I’m sure that I am not alone in this. So I took a break from work.  To be honest, I felt lost. If I couldn’t shoot or be productive, I wasn’t sure what I should be doing. I ended up taking a lot of time off from my business to deal with the renovations of our new home and deal with all the challenges that came from the virus and keeping my family safe.

The first few months went by in a blur and I found myself relearning how to sew on my mother-in-law’s old sewing machine that was far older than I am. I bought a used keyboard and began learning how to play the piano.  I spent a lot of time out in my garden- fighting back the massive weeds, planting a vegetable garden, and learning how to care for our land. We live out in the foothills of Mt Diablo and spent a lot of time hiking in the hills or visiting our next-door neighbor’s sheep. We learned to slow down and savor the moments we spent together and the moments of quiet joy. I watched a lot of Korean dramas, threw myself into learning about gardening and landscape design, logged onto Zoom parties with friends and lived in my leggings.

It wasn’t all sunshine and flowers. There were turbulent times, there were massive fires and the pandemic. Racial justice. Politics and doom scrolling. Somehow Paul and I leaned on each other and made it through.

The first few months were really hard, especially because it felt like so much of who I am is tied to the work that I do and being productive. I’m naturally introverted so being cut off from seeing people wasn’t as hard as I expected. But it was the lack of focus and lack of a schedule that threw me off. But taking the time off to work with my hands and find an unexpected peace in the simple tasks of sewing, gardening and baking really helped me ground myself. Meanwhile, I either had to cancel or move my couples’ wedding dates and my business, like so many in this industry, took a big hit.

The news and everything that is going on in the world has been particularly hard to keep up with. It was just easier to turn everything off and focus my energies elsewhere. It’s a balance to stay informed and fight for the things I believe in but also to recharge and recover from everything that happened in 2020. It’s been a balance that I am still trying to figure out.

Now that the vaccine is finally here and Paul and I are fully vaccinated, I’m finding that I’m ready to return to shooting and to my business. At the end of 2019, I was beginning to feel burned out. Being able to step away from the business for a time has helped me gain a new perspective and focus now that I’m getting back into it. It has made me see that photos are more than just something to post on social media. They are moments shared with loved ones. Some of who are still with us and some who are not. They are moments of hope and joy and part of our stories. They are what we can share when we are far apart. They have become treasures we can hold onto when we cannot hold onto each other.

So now a new season of life begins. A change for the better and hopefully a return to normalcy. There’s no denying that 2020 and the pandemic have changed us. As we struggle to return to normal, I’m trying to look back and hold onto this new focus and sense of purpose. I’m not sure what the future holds but I plan on going forward with this new perspective, new hobbies and my favorite black leggings.