This was the year...

I pursued a dream
At the very start of 2015, I got to it and I applied for Disney and Pixar, because I had absolutely nothing to lose. I have been told all of my life that it's where I need to be, so I thought it was time to give it a shot and see what would happen. I did it, I didn't get in, but I had fun trying. I'll do it again, because why not? I think all pursuits of dreams and challenges should be treated with the attitude of nothing to lose. That's how I started it off, and it took me places. Even if I was told "thanks for trying" I kept going. That's all you can do!

Freelance war paint. 

I stopped faking it
Quitting design, jumping out of an office, and into freelance, was hands down the best (and most terrifying) choice I could have made for myself. I'll continue to write more about this experience, because it really has altered my life in so many ways. I'm a new person, and I feel energized by what I get to call my job. It's not an easy one, but it's the most rewarding position I've ever had. Again, I'll write more about this, because it's deep. It just feels good to work my ass off for the right things.

 My littlest best friend. So glad he was with me the whole time.

I stopped caring about the things that DON'T matter
It takes a lot of work for me not to care, but somewhere along the way, I chose to stop giving the wrong things my time and energy; because I don't have the time to do it. I think working for myself helped with this one, because energy wasters only drag me down. I am the engine to my business, and I need to keep it running. When I focus on what matters, it helps all areas of my life. Simple as that. If you have chosen to read this, and assume I'm somehow referring to you; maybe you have some things to fix. Acknowledge your own bullshit, face it, and fix it. I've got my own to deal with.

The time I got Breakfast to pick what whether we stayed or went on an adventure. 

I grew a pair
So many people have commended me for my choices, this year, saying I have a hefty pair of balls. I checked, and thankfully it isn't literal. It's funny, because I didn't see any of my choices this year as being ballsy, because I chose to act with myself in mind and how it would benefit my life. Some might say this is a selfish reaction, but I feel that life is all about living it for yourself anyway. It was definitely a scary thing, to live in an unfamiliar place, by myself, in my own company, for over 100 days. Considering there was a time in my life, where I didn't leave the house for 8 months, because anxiety had me paralyzed from even thinking past the front door... I've changed. I have a great set of balls to show the world. I'm going to keep them, and maybe let them grow even more.

Gold series. It's one of my favourite pictures. 

I learned to see myself as something beautiful
I started a personal project that I have yet to share more openly. I became quite vulnerable, this year, so I pushed my boundaries to find strength from a place where I didn't know I had it. My body. I feel that we really take our bodies for granted, and need to see them as something beautiful, and value them for what they tell us. The message is more complex, but basically I learned to look at my body as something with its own voice. It showed me things I didn't know were there. I love this project for what it taught me. I will definitely figure out how to share it more openly, one day. It's a little scary to put out there.

My sister has always been a big supporter of what I do, so long as I do the right things, for myself.
I hadn't seen her in years, so we got some time to catch up and explore. 

I learned how to strut
It's tough to be proud of my accomplishments, when I've had a number of moments of being told off for seeming "too happy" or "selfish" for the things I worked hard for. Not everyone wanted to join me when I chose to change my life for the better, and it's a common reaction, because some people simply don't like change. When you go from being passive and amiable, to having an opinion; people are going to try to push back for that control again. It's nice to say I won't have it, and valuing myself has acted as a filter from what I don't need. I worked hard to hold my head high without feeling like a dick about it. Confidence is something you earn for yourself. Do the work, and stop being an asshole.

The day I left for the island. It was amazing to see so much blue. 

I learned how to trust my guts
It's neat, when you live in the middle of nowhere and do absolutely everything on your own. You learn a great deal about your natural instincts. It brings a whole new perspective of what makes sense in your life; which is where all of the above lessons came into my life so steadily as they did. I suppose developing some confidence helped me listen more closely to what my guts were telling me. It's a nice feeling, and I hesitate less and less as I get to know what they have to say. I still laugh about how fast I jumped back on the ferry to head home, when I did. It was like I knew where I needed to be, and went. I don't regret my decisions. That's what guts look like.

Stopping in Canmore, both to and from BC, was a must. I love it there. 

I found my way home
It wasn't really a shock to realize that I came back to where I started; when I had left, that summer, on such a high note. It took me months to even decide to leave, because I had created a life for myself that I was happy with. Still, there were things I was uncertain of, and I figured it was okay to explore other options. I realize I had set up some boundaries that I didn't need. With distance, I learned how to let those boundaries go, by seeing them as things that I created in my own mind. It came with the lesson of self acceptance, and it helped me return and feel welcome, in the place I knew I needed to be. It feels good to call a place home, and actually feel it. I haven't felt this way in probably, at least, 15 years. That's huge. My heart is so happy.

I fell in love with the giant fall. These leaves! 

I fell in love, the right way
Loving and being loved for the right reasons, is where I feel a lot of people fall short. Some of us don't quite know how to be alone, so we hang on to what we have and hope for the best. I learned how to love myself by being totally alone, for a very long time; so the more I came back to myself, the more I attracted the right people. I have reflected on how I've treated myself through the years, and I can only say that I'm happy to be valued properly and seen for who I am. I see myself being treated the way I deserve to be treated; with kindness, honesty, and acceptance. It's a beautiful thing, and it's the easiest it has ever been. When you learn to love who you are, you welcome others to love you just the same. It's really pretty. The effort... is effortless.

The most unforgettable moment: 
There was a symphony in Beacon Hill Park, and they played Wonderful World, days after I arrived on the island. 
I cried, I felt alone, and yet not alone at all. It was absolutely beautiful. 

Nature became my best friend
I will always seek nature, to give me guidance, patience, solace, and inspiration. It has always been a healer in my life, and I realize I need to get back to it on a regular basis, like a certain medication. The memories that I have, being alone in the woods, listening to the silence, the breeze; watching the trees sway to my thoughts. Those images will never leave my mind. I honestly couldn't be more grateful to be alive in this world, in this moment, surrounded by so much beauty. I wish I could write nature a letter and just say thank you. Thank you, for helping me find myself. I left a big piece of myself in those woods, and brought back something that I needed for a very long time. My goodness, what a beautiful, challenging, and incredible year.

The year I'll never forget.

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