I got one semester into my grad program when I realized that my dream of becoming an animator & working for DreamWorks or Pixar was not going to happen. Well, it could have happened if I worked hard enough. I looked around at my peers in the department & realized that for most of them, this thing called "animating" came super easy for them & their stuff looked amazing.
It was around that time that my photography career was beginning to really take off. Up until then, it still hadn't clicked with me that, "Yes, self, you can make a career out of being a photographer!" I continued on with the program, but turned it as best as I could into a photographer degree. If only I had figured out all that out a few months earlier & I would have saved myself a lot of stress & money. However, God knew what was up. If I had quit the program or never even started it, I would never have met my future husband. Or, rather, RE-met my future husband. (Apparently we met once before, but I honestly don't remember it. That's another story, though.)
All this to say, God knows what He's doing.
He knows when you need to focus on one thing. He knows when you need a break. He knows when you can't handle a multitude of 100º summer weddings.
In 2011, I started working on & ultimately finished my thesis project. To say the idea of getting in front of a panel of professors & my peers to defend a thesis stressed me out is putting it mildly. I picked a project, worked on it for a semester, then completely dropped it for a personal/side project I had been working on. I worked all summer researching, writing my paper & adding more photographs to my collection.
I had my last wedding of 2011 in September (one of my favorite cousins!) & at first I panicked. Don't I need more weddings? What about proposals? Don't a lot of people get engaged during the fall & then plan summer weddings??
Finally, it hit me. I didn't have time for weddings that fall. God knew I had enough on my plate with just my thesis alone & graduating. If I had had clients that fall, I would have been spread way too thin & would neglect either them or my work.
This all happened again this past October. Except backwards.
Four weeks before their wedding date, two friends from high school asked me to photograph their wedding that was a whopping 7 days before mine. S-e-v-e-n. D-a-y-s. Several people thought I was crazy for attempting this.
I showed up to their wedding & I was at peace. I was so happy to be there & not to be worrying about silly little details of my wedding. It was a relief to not be so focused on my own wedding, & spend the day celebrating marriage with another couple. It was a huge load off. God knew I needed a mental break & as backwards as it may sound, photographing someone else's wedding was exactly what I needed.
This all happened AGAIN. In fact it's currently happening.
The saying "March comes in like a lion" is true...but I would like to change it a little bit for my story. April came in like a lion. A glorious lion!
In the past 12 weeks, I have traveled &/or had photo shoots for 10 of those weekends. Some of those weekends had as many as three separate photo shoots. I also acted in my church's Easter play (somehow I snagged the part of Mary) & contracted poison ivy. Did I mention that my new husband & I moved to a new city where we didn't really know anybody?
Oh yeah, & I rebranded my entire business!
By the end of May, I was exhausted, overwhelmed, & stressed, & my body was not letting me forget that. I won't give too many details, but I ended up being pretty much bedridden for almost a solid week. Most of my problem was stress related, so I made sure to take breaks. I went to the pool. I watched TV without multi-tasking. I took long baths while reading a book. (Doctor's orders! No, really. He told me I needed to de-stress.)
Do not get me wrong. I am not complaining about being too busy. This spring has seen some of my favorite & most beautiful photo shoots & weddings that I've ever gotten to be a part of. Everyone I have worked with this spring has been a perfect gem & I would do it all again!
With the exception of a family vacation to San Diego (which happens to coincide with Comic Con & I surprised my husband with tickets for his birthday!), I have nothing photography related until mid-August.
Every now & then, I panic. Don't I need photo shoots? What about those summer weddings?
No, no, Emily. You need a break.
I realized this probably happened because during the fall when couples were planning their summer weddings, I had no idea where I was going to be living this summer. I definitely understand not wanting to hire someone when they could possibly be moving to California. (That wasn't really a possibility, but for the sake of my story, let's go with it.) Ergo, no summer weddings for me. Which now I am totally ok with.
So what am I doing with my summer? I plan on 1) relaxing a little bit, 2) getting to know Austin a little more (I can check bat-watching off my list!), & 3) blogging more. If more work comes along during my period of rest, then fantastic! Otherwise, I will enjoy my downtime, blogging about things like wedding planning advice, camera tech tips, etc. I'm excited & nervous at the same time about my new blogging endeavors! If you have a question that you'd like to see answered here, email me @ email@example.com.
So, I encourage you to do this with me this summer. Take some time to listen to what God has in store for you. Whether it be slowing down to focus on one thing at a time, focusing on someone else's needs, or finally starting that one project that's been on the to-do list, do it with me. My list of summer projects include re-upholstering my ottoman, finishing my wedding guest book project, & doing something creative with all of our wedding greeting cards.
I'm sorry if this post turned out to be a little long, but it's something that's been on my heart to share for a while. If you made it to the end, join me at the pool. We both deserve it!