2014 Recap + Realizations


At home on Baker Beach in February 2014

Happy New Year, friends! In keeping with the tradition I launched last year, today I’m going to share my 2014 recap and realizations. As I read back through my 2013 recap in preparation for today’s post, I felt a bit tired. Frankly I’m amazed at how many projects I undertook and all of the realizations that came from completing (or abandoning) them in 2013. But that’s old news. Here’s what happened in 2014:

2014 Recap

Brian and I rang in the new year from India, where I was doing a fellowship in impact investing while promoting my Art Aligned Self-Study Course for Photographers during my free time.

The challenges of India—living in a college-style studio apartment without reliable power, drinking water, or transportation while Brian worked from our apartment for an Internet startup back in California—eventually got the better of us and we decided to return home at the end of January.

We weren’t feeling 100% when we returned but we jumped back into our prior responsibilities. I continued work on Art Aligned, hosted a study group of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, signed up to work with a new teen through our local CASA program, and joined the board of that organization in April. I also began work with a counselor to heal some of the limiting beliefs I had about photography and success.

The year was humming along but, as I said, we weren’t feeling great. While we were in India, Brian began having intestinal and stomach pain, and I began experiencing mental fogginess, joint pain, and fatigue. After many doctor’s visits and tests this summer, Brian was diagnosed with a parasite and I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and hypothryroidism. The second half of 2014 was filled with check-ins and, for me, cutting as much as I could from my schedule in order to rest and heal.

Picking a pumpkin at our CSA

Picking a pumpkin at our CSA’s Open House in Capay this September

That’s not to say we didn’t have fun this year. As planned we did not travel far, but we did take plenty of road trips to Pebble Beach, Point Reyes, Capay, Hollister, Los Angeles, and Murphys, California, and one short plane ride to Washington and Oregon.

We also trained for the Giant Race; it was Brian’s fifth half marathon and my first 10k (and no, I wasn’t supposed to do a race due to my health but I didn’t know that until my doctor practically fell out of her chair when we told her).

I walked the course and Brian walked with me until my turnaround, then ran to make up time over his remaining 10 miles. Of course, doing so ruined his overall time but it was great to have him along for the first half of my race. The event was fun, but not something I plan to do again anytime soon. Brian, on the other hand, has committed to his first marathon in 2015. Look out, SF Marathon, here he comes! I will be watching and cheering at the finish line.

Sunset in Murphys, California over Thanksgiving weekend

Sunset in Murphys, California over Thanksgiving weekend

2014 Realizations

Having done so much in 2013 set me up for some unreasonable expectations of 2014. While I tried to keep up the pace, my body demanded down time, teaching me an important lesson about self care in the process.

I’m heading into 2015 with more awareness of what I can and can’t do right now. I’m also learning how to take better care of myself. One of the ways I’m doing that is by reading Cheryl Richardson’s The Art of Extreme Self Care, which is structured as a 12-month program. If you want to join along, let me know in the comments. Perhaps we can create a private Facebook group.

Working with the counselor this year, I did a lot of soul searching about my future and I’ve decided not to return to client-based photography. While I love documenting people’s lives, working with clients to bring their vision to life has never been the best fit. I have a lot of ideas for personal photography projects but, for now, those are on hold until I’m feeling healthier.

On that note, I am also embarking on a sabbatical from all client work. My Art Aligned course is still available for independent study but I won’t be taking on any coaching/consulting clients on for the next six months at least. I will still be blogging and doing volunteer work as my energy permits. I hope you’ll check in from time to time. I love hearing from you!

Sunset in Half Moon Bay on December 26h, 2014 - What a beautiful end to the year!

Sunset in Half Moon Bay on December 26th, 2014 – What a beautiful end to the year!

All the best to you and yours in 2015. Did you have any personal realizations last year that are guiding your next steps? Please share in the comments.


Kate Watson