Two Thousand Sixteen
2016 was a year that I have very mixed feelings about. A lot of things happened in the past 12 months that were not exactly easy to deal with. I struggled to find community in my hometown as I attempted to sort out which of my past friends were still my friends and re-learnt how to make new ones. I burnt myself out working in a ministry that I’m passionate about but just couldn’t handle. I was forced to turn down valuable photography work because of prior commitments which proceeded to fall through. And I poured my heart and soul into my Saskatchewanderer application only to finish a very close second.
But dwelling on the negative is no way to start a new year. Some really fantastic things took place in 2016 as well and they deserve to be celebrated.
My winter was full of travelling. Visiting Edmonton in January, Jasper in February, and Winnipeg in March, I did well ticking things off my bucket list. I got to dance the night away with a great friend at an Arkells show (you gotta see them play, trust me), snowboard in the Rockies for the first time, and visit the National Museum of Human Rights with my sister.
I had the opportunity to facilitate The Blanket Exercise with school kids and participate with them as we gained new understanding about what took place in our province as Europe settled our country and how that continues to impact the lives of First Nations and Metis people today. This was such a special experience and I hope continue to look for ways to promote growth towards a better future of understanding and support within our province.
My job this summer included many opportunities to be creative, from making promotional and re-cap style videos, etaking plenty of photographs, and even creating logos and print media. It was a blessing being able to challenge myself to be creative in new ways.
I was able to spend a week canoeing on the Churchill River System through the rocky lakes of the boreal forest. This experience surpassed my expectations and really caused me to fall in love with camping in remote areas. There’s something wonderful about being completely separated from civilization and technology, not worrying about post likes and keeping up with who was where on Friday night. Life slows down up there and reminds you of what’s really important.
I got to witness my best friend get married! Supporting Kendra as she prepared to say ‘I do’ was an absolute joy and I couldn’t have been more honoured to stand next to her on her wedding day. And the party was a total blast too.
I spent an entire month traveling throughout Europe, visiting friends and family along the way. Many of these people I hadn’t seen in years so it was obviously very great to catch up with old friends from my time in Madrid in 2011-2012. I also got to spend two of these weeks with my parents and it was really nice to explore new places and create new memories with them.
I began volunteering with a group of people who have become a wonderful community to be a part of. In such a short time they have already supported me through so much and I’m excited to see what 2017 brings with them by my side.
So with 2016 making it’s way into the archives, it’s time to look forward to 2017. I read an article recently that said,
"IF YOU DON'T LEARN SOMETHING EVERY TIME YOU FAIL THEN ALL YOU'VE DONE IS FAILED. IF YOU LEARN SOMETHING, THEN YOU'VE GROWN."
By reflecting on the things that I've failed at, learned from, and succeeding in this year, I've made a list of how I want to grow in the next. Although the year may be different than what I was hoping for three weeks ago, there is plenty to look forward to and work towards. Here are some of the things I want to focus on in the upcoming calendar year.
Build relationships by purposefully spending time with those who mean the most to me. This includes (but is not limited to) my God, my two-year-old niece, new friendships I hope to see grow, and my best friend who will be moving away in the fall.
Create a photograph every single day. I’ve heard of a lot of people doing 365 challenges, and have even attempted a photograph a week in the past. It’s definitely not easy, but I know that the only way to continue to improve and grow creatively is by constantly creating new work. I will start a second blog here where I will post each day’s new image and hopefully have a story or two to share along with it.
Keep exploring this amazing world I live in. The fact that I’m not getting paid to do it doesn’t mean I should give up my love for traveling and sharing what I discover. In 2017 I plan to visit at least one new place within Saskatchewan, somewhere else across Canada, and a new city abroad. And of course share what I experience with all of you.
I suppose all that’s left to say is thank you. Thank you for sticking with me this year, sending me kind words and positive vibes. I look forward to what’s to come and I truly believe it will be great. I'll fail at things, for sure, but grow from them too. Comment below with an experience that caused you to grow in 2016 and how you want to continue to do so in 2017.