I think I’m more excited to have completed this daily blog than I am for my birthday tomorrow. This has been, without a doubt, the greatest year of my life so far. I think this blog is a fundamental piece of what led me to changing my life in so many ways.
First of all, I wanted to challenge myself into making a long term commitment. This all started with a question I have asked of myself for many years now “have I ever put in a full year?” Meaning, have I ever done the work to become better at my craft every day for an entire year?
Now I am very proud to say yes to that question. Every night I posted, or had pre-loaded posts while on vacation, a different photo from my library of years and years of photos. I also chose a song to accompany the post that I felt had some connection with how I was feeling or what I was listening to while editing the image for that night. Some nights would only take 15 minutes, others would take well over an hour. A safe estimate is 20 minutes a day totalling 7300 minutes of work. That’s 121.6 hours. Which breaks down into just over 5 days of editing, posting and working on my craft.
I’m proud of that number alone, but what I never considered a year ago was all of the side benefits of blogging every day. When I started to challenge myself in this small way it led to many other challenges and goals that I took on in the coming months.
First of all, Kara and I planned a vacation to Italy. I have been wanting to do this forever but it never seemed like the right time to go. It was going to be expensive, there’s too much to see, it always seemed like we would wait to take this vacation when we retired. I learned to ignore the part of me that wanted to keep putting it off and start planning a trip I had been saving for the “right time” for years.
In February, I took on a different challenge. My office was holding a Biggest Loser contest. I took the same principles of the daily blog, took on a couple changes to my diet every day and lost 25 lbs in 2 months. I’ve since gained back 5 but I’ve maintained this weight now for 6 months. I’ve lost weight before but keeping it off was never something I could do before. I won the competition and the prize money and put it all into a new wardrobe and some spending money for our trip.
In May, we took our vacation and on the first night I had the revelation that I wanted to quit my job. I laid out the basic plan for quitting and Kara supported my decision. I should note that I feel incredibly lucky to be with someone who supports me enough to take the chance on me leaving my secure job while she is in school, trusting that we’ll find a way to make it work. In June I started laying the groundwork for changing my career. I should mention that I had no intention of dropping this bomb on our first dinner on vacation, it just came out. Lots of things came out on this vacation but I won’t go down that tangent tonight.
I had been holding onto a lot of things that I wanted to do like my Field Trip Project which I started in June with my sister-in-law Kirstin. In November I will be taking this up again and I have an open invitation to anyone who is interested in spending some time with me, a different person every month to do something fun, something creative and share it with the world. Just embracing this project has been another dream of mine for some time and I’ve really enjoyed the 3 that I’ve taken so far.
In August I filed my business, got my tax ID and quit my job. I never expected this was going to be the year I went into business for myself. Since starting my business I’ve already met so many wonderful people who have been so supportive and helpful that it has made the move feel a whole lot less scary than it could. I’ve also had more interesting opportunities to do photography, something I really love, than I ever imagined back when I was doing graphic design every day.
Now my year is finished. I’m so excited for what next year has in store. I will be stopping the daily blog for now, but this blog will certainly continue. I’d like to take some more time to figure out my next moves, everything has changed so much that I hardly recognize myself from just one year ago. And that’s a good thing.
Thank you for following me on this journey. I’m looking forward to what’s around the bend.
Tonight’s song is Better Days by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.