I feel a little bit like a time traveller right now. Because honestly? I don’t know where the hell 2021 went. And I knoooow I talk about time like this an awful lot. But its passing seems to have been more pronounced in the last 12 months. Why is that? Who knows. It could just be because I’m getting older, and my Dad once told me when I was a young, sullen teenager that time would speed up the older I got, and I would one day think to myself, ‘You know what? Dad was right!’ He bloody was, of course. A part of me also thinks it’s because of what’s going on in the world right now. It just seems like the world has sped up in all areas. The craziness of the pandemic STILL going on. The increasingly jaw-dropping political situations all over the planet that make me think, almost every day, WHAT THE FUCK? And, on top of that, the year British Columbia has had has left me in extreme head-scratching mode because… friends… it has been. A. Year. The year we moved house in a natural disaster. Not something I thought I’d ever say!
But I’m racing ahead of myself, and cramming a crazy 12 months into one paragraph is enough to give anyone a headache. So, without further ado, I’m going to try and make some sense of 2021, one little bit at a time!
January to March
I distinctly remember the first day of 2021 because it was the first day I was free from post-arriving-back-from-Malta-quarantine, and, despite the rain, I was keen to go to Murder Geese Park for a walk in the fresh air.
I’m an introvert through and through, but 2 weeks cooped up indoors was more than enough for me. I embraced that cold, damp air with both arms and marched around the park for a New Year’s Day stroll with wild enthusiasm.
That was also the day I decided to try and do a 365 project on my personal Instagram account. If you head there for a nose, you’ll see I only managed 321 days in all, but I’m really rather proud of that. Especially when you hear what a year it’s been.
Business-wise, I was already working with the wonderful Megan from Megan & Kenneth Photography. They had a pretty epic project with website copy, template emails, a new brochure and looooots of blog posts. And Megan was a total joy to work with, making my job incredibly easy!
Other clients throughout the first quarter ranged from wedding photographers in Jersey, the UK, and the USA. There were also website designers, digital marketers, and a couple of coaches. I also started copy projects for some makers in Scotland and Ireland and a wedding planner in Croatia. I bloody love how varied my clientele are!
I made the switch to a mirrorless camera at the beginning of the year, too, trading in both of my 5Ds for the new Canon R6. I was not disappointed!
And that first quarter was a time of false hope and promises, dining out for the first time in what felt like forever, before rudely having it all taken away from us again when new restrictions came back into place.
What did I photograph in that first quarter of the year? There were salons of all types, cinnamon buns and delicious pies mostly! Definitely areas I haven’t ever really worked in before, but I wasn’t complaining!
April to June
As April kicked off, so too did my health. A very long story short, I discovered I had super high blood pressure (like really, dangerously high!), and I needed to figure out how to deal with it. This was a rough time for me. I was upset that despite going to the gym, eating better than I have done in years and not having smoked a cigarette for more than two years had resulted in me having this issue.
At first, I thought it was all down to stress and anxiety, but it slowly became clear that this was an issue that needed to be dealt with. But I fought against it and the idea of medication for quite a while before we got to that stage! I was only 40, after all!!
In the meantime, I’d got myself into a rhythm with work. I had a weekly layout, set days for admin and client work, and it was all starting to make sense at last! This self-employment lark isn’t as easy as it looks, you know!
There were more wonderful photo shoots, this time with a local boutique, some of my all-time favourite headshots I’ve ever photographed with the Culture Co ladies, headshots in a stunning flower garden in the early spring, as well as having my own photographs taken with the very lovely Sarah Sovereign on a gorgeous evening in May.
And in June we had our first trip away in a very long time! We booked a beautiful little Airbnb in the Okanagan, right by the river, and we were so excited! We also bought kayaks in the spring, and this would be our first chance to get them out and have a go. Our little holiday away promised quiet, rural bliss, barbecues, campfires, and wine while soaking in the hot tub. It was a perfect little trip, and we quickly discovered how much we loved kayaking (although I am not a fan of rivers)!
July to September
I finally got the Profit First system properly up and running on my business account. And it seems like from here on out is where I finally came to love spreadsheets. I’m seriously a bit of a spreadsheet fiend these days. Yep, holding my hands up for all the nerdiness right here!
August brought my birthday (and a night out in Vancouver whilst staying in a fancy hotel – we’ll be making that more of a habit in the future!) and also a notification that I’d been approved for the Small and Medium Business Recovery Grant! I can’t say I have ever asked for anything in my life before, so being encouraged to apply for it by my accountant and then being given it was a very nice surprise indeed.
There were some more lovely photo shoots in the shape of cakes, delicious meals in beautiful kitchens, therapists and clinics, local wine, and hopping all over Chilliwack, creating content for the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce.
And I finally started working with a Naturopathic Doctor in the hopes of getting to the bottom of my high blood pressure issues and other various symptoms I’ve been dealing with for years.
Ohhhh, and then we also kinda sorta listed our house and sold it 4 days later! More on that shortly!
October to December
The last part of the year was dominated by two things – 1) packing up our house and moving and 2) Stu buggering off to the UK for 2 weeks in the middle of it all.
Seems to be a thing with us and moving; he’s got good at leaving me with the packing!
Seriously though, if you’d said to us at the start of the year that we’d be selling up and moving home by the end of it, I’d have laughed at you (amongst other things). It wasn’t in “the plan”, at least not for another couple of years! But when you find out just how much you’ve made on your house in just two years, and you’re also dealing with some issues with your old house complex, then maybe it all just kind of happened at the right time. And, when we found our gorgeous house in Agassiz, we knew things were going to work out just right.
We moved to the new place at the end of November, and we absolutely love living in this little town just a few minutes further into the valley (and even more surrounded by mountains than before!).
I somehow managed that move whilst also doing two website copy projects with two lovely local businesses and a couple of lovely brand shoots as well. But it was a pretty rough few months, especially with the flooding we had in BC in November. That, coupled with the forest fires and heat dome in the summer and, later, the deep freeze of winter, it’s been a really tough time, and our poor province has had quite the hammering. Not to mention those of us living here.
BUT! We made it to the end of the year intact, just about.
And I somehow find myself reviewing all this in early February 2022 and wondering how I got through it! It probably explains why I’ve been feeling tired these last few weeks, anyway!
I’d love to wrap up with some wonderful bit of wisdom or witticism, but I don’t have one. Suffice it to say that it was a year of ups and downs. I learned a lot, I still have lots to learn, and I will never get over just how a year can fly and seem to drag all at the same time.
Here’s to seeing what the next year brings!