Y’all…what a year this has been!!
2018 was the first year that I really took the time to map out in advance. And I think it’s no coincidence it’s been my favorite year yet – both personally and professionally.
In the spirit of honesty, I finished last year (2017) feeling grateful for my small business, but I had burned myself out to the point that I wasn’t sure if I could make it through another busy fall season. Photographing families is my dream job, but 80 hours per week of anything – no matter how great it is – can make you question your priorities.
I knew I needed to get a better handle on my work/life balance in 2018 if this career was going to be sustainable over the long run.
Last Thanksgiving, I sat down for a few hours with Lara Casey’s Powersheets with the intent of figuring out what 2018 might look like. I had never done anything like that before, and I’m usually too impatient for written journaling…but I think the physical act of writing down my goals really helped solidify them in my mind. Powersheets prompt you to evaluate the different areas of your life (relationships, finances, etc.) to determine what needs the most attention, and they also help you figure out what you value the most so you can shape your goals around those values. At the end, Lara invites you to set an intentional word for the year.
After lots of thought, I decided on the word “space” – space in my calendar instead of running from thing to thing, space in our clutter-prone tiny apartment, space to create meaningful adventures & memories, and space between work life & home life.
I carried the things I learned from the journaling exercises with me throughout the rest of the year. Many of the decisions I made in the winter really impacted the rest of 2018 – for instance, I booked my first-ever “slow” vacation (drinks and pool time instead of planning a million activities). I hired an organizer to help me get rid of belongings I didn’t need. I put office hours in place and vowed to be home by 7 p.m. whenever possible. I cleared two months on my calendar without client sessions so I could work on long-term projects and some much-needed business housekeeping.
This year I was also more intentional about making time for my husband, my family, and my friends.
I took more trips to Texas to visit my family – especially since my brother got engaged AND married this year! I took every holiday weekend off so that my husband and I could spend that time together. I blocked out more friend dates on my calendar – even some during busy season, which has previously meant four months of putting my head down and losing all contact with the non-work world. This year’s busy season wasn’t easy by any means…I was still pulling 70-80 hours a week, and I still had more than a few moments of exhaustion when I wasn’t sure if I was capable of finishing in one piece. But it was so much better this year. E even told me (unprompted) that this was the calmest I’ve ever been in the fall. I’ll take it! 😉
I also wanted to have more moments in 2018 where I felt truly alive instead of feeling like a smartphone zombie simply going through the motions.
I decided the best way to do that would be to break out of my comfort zone as much as possible. I did that in lots of little ways, like taking my laptop to work in new places, listening to new music through the Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify, and going for walks in different neighborhoods. But the biggest way was fulfilling a dream that I always wanted to experience – traveling solo internationally. SO, after what I thought would be my only big trip for the year in February, I came back and spontaneously booked myself a ticket to Portugal. When I made the trip in August, I cried on top of the Dom Luís Bridge from the beauty of it all. It was so healthy for me to remember that even though I’m happily married, I can still stand on my own two feet (and even enjoy it!)
Apart from traveling and prioritizing relationships, the biggest personal change of 2018 has been planning to start a family in the next couple of years.
I’ve wanted to become a mother ever since middle school, and E and I have been saving since before we were even engaged. But it feels so different, exciting, and a little terrifying now that it’s (hopefully) right around the corner for us. Family planning is a bit complicated living in Boston because of the insane housing and childcare costs (both of our families live far away), so I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around what the future of KLP might look like.
I definitely plan to keep working, but I want to be a dedicated mama as well. This business has been my “only child” for the last ten years now, but I’m ready (well, as ready as I’ll ever be) to make room for a new chapter. In chatting with all my mama clients this year, the biggest thing I’ve taken away is that it’s OK to not have all the answers right now, and that we will figure out exactly what we need to know at the time we need to learn it. That’s a big step for this Type A girl, and I’m trying to learn to take it one day at a time.
2018 also marked the tenth “business birthday” of Kate L Photography!
TEN!!!?!? It feels like just yesterday that I picked up a camera for the first time. Even though I spent so much effort prioritizing life outside of work this year, KLP still occupies a humongous part of my heart. AND, this year more than ever, I’m seeing mamas in a whole new (awe-filled) light after planning for our own family. I’m grateful for every conversation, grateful for every beautifully chaotic, love-filled photo session, and grateful for every image that makes me smile at my computer while editing. It was a happy accident that I stumbled into this dream career ten years ago, and I feel lucky that my clients have helped me keep it going ever since. I don’t take a second of this for granted, and your trust means the world to me. Here’s to the next ten years, y’all!
Whew, this was a long one, huh?! Enough of me being sappy – it’s time for the good stuff! In keeping with my favorite annual tradition, here is one image from every 2018 session that I have permission to share.
With 130 sessions photographs and delivered this year, you all have definitely kept me on my toes and smiling!
I hope viewing these images brings you as much joy as I felt creating them!
Pick your own adventure: you can scroll down to view all the images quickly, or you can watch the slideshow to give your thumbs a break! They’re the same images in two different formats. Enjoy!!!
Cheers to an amazing 2019, y’all! 💕
Thinking about booking a session in 2019? I’d love to work with you!
I have just two session openings for RETURNING CLIENTS ONLY in January 2019.
My first openings for NEW CLIENTS will be April 2019 (just in time for the beautiful spring flowers!) Those dates will open on February 1st, and availability will be offered to newsletter subscribers first. Please make sure you’re signed up here to get first dibs on dates! 🙂