Out of Darkness Grows Flowers: Reflections on 2017

It is hard to believe another year has gone by.

I must admit, I'm not sorry to see this one go.  

Refelctions on 2017.jpg

Every year has it's up and downs.  How could it not, given there are 365 opportunities.

I spent most of 2017 a stressed out, nervous wreck.

As one who believes in omens, I should have known that when a violent stomach virus took me out for 2 1/2 days three days in, it was going to be a tumultuous year.  You see, nothing takes me out.

My year started off with the realization that a semester abroad in Asia, followed by a summer working in San Diego, meant my son was never going to call the home he had lived in since he was five years old, home.  And although I should be proud that I did my job well, he didn't need his Mom any more.

Coinciding with this, I was also dealing with my daughter's anxiety as she was watching her friends get accepted to their first choice colleges, while she was forced to patiently wait.

Of course looking back now, my son has been home several times during the Fall and my daughter got into college and just successfully completed her first semester.  Both kids are home for Winter break and I try to look back to say "see I didn't have anything to stress over."

But that's not how I'm wired.

In 2017, I also took on an enormous responsibility, when I agreed to be the President of my synagogue.  This is a volunteer position that I have lost sleep and appetite over, and quite frankly is becoming a full-time job.

The biggest stress of 2017 was all about money, but what's so special about that?  Isn't that true for most?  1 kid in college + 1 kid in college = 1 financial nightmare.  Sure we saved.  We had college savings accounts.  We used up college savings accounts.  

Needless to say, 2017 has had it's fair share of yelling, screaming and "passionate" discussions.

Whenever I am faced with a challenge, regardless of degree, I think of this great quote I used for the the title of one of my photographs, back when SEO and Google analytics weren't a thing and I actually named my images something meaningful.

Out Of Darkness Grows Flowers, January   2012

Out Of Darkness Grows Flowers, January 2012

Out of darkness grows flowers.

So what did all of that stress in 2017 bring?

I started treating myself as a business.  I improved my website to make it more user friendly and reflective of who I am as an artist.  I started blogging and created a weekly newsletter.  I upped my social media game and currently have 424 organic followers on Instagram and I average about 18,000 monthly views on Pinterest.  

According to my internet research, you can't succeed in business without setting goals (and everything you read on the internet is true, isn't it?).

I have big plans for 2018!

I want to double everything!  I want to double my sales, double my newsletter subscribers and double all my followers; Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.  I am going to open a second Society6 shop that features my love of quotes.  I am going to continue to expand my Etsy shop and add new products.  I will be exploring two new online businesses I would like to launch, one an online art gallery, where I hope to help artists like myself get more exposure to art buyers and enthusiast.  The other is for bloggers and Instagrammers, providing them with stock photography they can use for their posts.

I found this great post on Facebook last week, that I shared on my own page.  It read...

I may have failed as a wife, sometimes as a mother, a daughter, a sister or as a friend, because I don't always say or do the "right things". I don't have a model figure because I love to eat! I sometimes have a smart mouth, I have secrets, I have scars because I have a history. Some people love me, some like me, and some people don't like me. I have done good in my life. I have done bad in my life. I go without makeup, or shaving my legs sometimes. I don't get dressed up half the time. I am random and I am silly. I will not pretend to be someone I am not. I am who I am, you can love me or not. But if I love you, I will do it with my whole heart, and I will make no apologies for the way I am. I AM ME!

I'm not perfect.

Neither are you.  Remember that.

Here is to an amazing 2018!