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Earlier this year I stumbled upon a photographer’s blog post in which they had a list of questions they had answered about their previous year.  I saved the list of questions and thought it would be a cool way to reflect on my 2015.  Yesterday I found myself thinking about these reflection questions and decided to pour myself a dirty martini and answer them.  So here they are…the questions and my answers along with a few of the photos I took during the year.   I still haven’t gone through the many photos that I have taken this year and wish I could have sprinkled some of those in 🙂

 

1. Did you do anything this year that you have not done before?

I traveled to Sweden and wandered the diverse neighborhoods of Stockholm.  I journeyed to the land of the midnight sun that is Finland and enjoyed some of the longest days of sun in my life.  I enjoyed the traditional (and fantastic) sauna ritual that Finns love so much.  I camped on one of the nearly 14,000 lush green islands on Finland’s largest lake – Lake Saimaa.  I photographed a wedding in Finland.  I flew business class abroad and back which was worth the extra money.  Don’t think I can fly overseas again without this upgrade!

2. Did you keep any of your New Year’s resolutions?

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  Thinking that for 2016 I’ll come up with a word to focus on as a theme for the year like ‘simplicity’ or ‘faith’ and center my goals around that.

3. Did someone close to you die?

No.

4. What countries did you visit?

Sweden & Finland.  Technically I spent time out in the fresh cool Icelandic air on my layover in Iceland, but I didn’t do any sightseeing.  Although ironically one of my favorite photos of the year was taken in Iceland during the short amount of time I was there.

I post images from my travels mostly on Instagram http://instagram.com/bobbalinamay/

5. Is there anything you lacked in 2014 that you want in 2015?

A litte more motivation.

6. What date will you always remember ?

July 7th, 2015 – the date of my cousin’s destination wedding in Mikkeli, Finland.

7. What is the best thing that happened to you during the past year?

There was no one thing.  Just many little opportunities that made this year a surprising and fulfilling one.

8. What was your biggest mistake?

There’s no one thing I feel was a big mistake or regret, except maybe wishing that I had journaled or blogged more during the year to document personal memories and accomplishments.

9. What was your best buy?

Investing in some expensive, but good footwear that make my feet happy – thank goodness they don’t look “old ladyish” either ;P

10. What did you spend most money on?

Travel and photography gear.

11. What made ​​you really happy?

Traveling.  Saving and reaching that goal and making that adventure happen.

12. Have you been sick or hurt?

Not hurt, but I did get pretty sick while traveling.

13. What songs or artists will make you think about 2015?

Alt-J, Hozier, Broods, MS MR, X Ambassadors

14. Felt better or worse this year than you did in the previous year?

Better than 2014.  Doorways opened and new opportunities presented themselves although with those opportunities came great challenges.   It was a year of re-birth in many ways and a foundational year as far as planting and cultivating some future hopes and dreams.

15. Is there something you wish you spent more time on?

Building my relationship with God.  Getting to know Him more as a father instead of this omnipotent abstract being that is to be feared.  This has been on my list for about 7 years now.  Some years I’m closer to Him than others and this year was a bit of an up and down for me.  When I drew closer to Him I found things happened, those opportunities, those good challenges, but inevitably I battle with a wee bit of depression which causes me to lose motivation and I withdraw when I need Him most.

16. Is there something you wish you spent less time on?

Watching Netflix!

17. How was your Christmas?

Wonderful!  It was the first Christmas in a long time where family on all sides came together and it was drama-free.

18. Were you in love?

No.

19. Which program has been the best thing on TV?

Game of Thrones. House of Cards.  Downton Abbey.  Mr. Selfridge. Parks & Rec.  I also re-watched a ton of Friends and Frasier (probably my favorite TV comedy.)  I got back into watching the Bachelorette & Bachelor in Paradise thanks to my boss’s addiction to those shows!

20. What was the best movie you saw this year?

This is tough because there were 4 that I really enjoyed.  Probably from least to most favorite: Jurassic World (hello Chris Pratt!), Mad Max (hello Tom Hardy!), Star Wars: The Force Awakens, & James Bond’s Spectre (hello Daniel Craig!)

21. What was the best book you read this year?

I didn’t read any – too much time watching Netflix.

22. What was the best food experience?

Countless amazing cocktails and meals at my friend’s restaurant: Tongue in Cheek.  It became my watering hole and a favorite place to enjoy an evening out on my own as a single gal.  Overall I enjoyed the clean food in Finland.  One of the side effects of jet lag for me is loss of appetite so I didn’t eat a ton while traveling, but the authentic Finnish meals I had were so light and good.

23. Did you wish for something you got?

To shoot more weddings and more portrait sessions and to shoot a destination wedding abroad!  There was a moment when I was photographing the bride and groom out on a dock with the beautiful lush Finnish landscape surrounding me and I thought, wow…I’m doing this! I’m half way around the world, doing what I LOVE… AND I’m getting paid for it!  I just didn’t think that an opportunity like that was going to happen and that I would come away feeling so proud of myself for taking that challenge on and succeeding.

Oh, and a kitty.  I am the proud owner of Rhoda.  She worships me and I adore her.

24. Did you wish for something that you did NOT get?

Can’t think of anything.

25. What did you do on your birthday?

I can’t remember – I’m getting old!

26. Who were the best people that you met?

My coworkers.  The more I get to know the people both near and far that work with me at OST, the more I learn how genuine and intrinsically good these people are.  I am so lucky to work for an amazing company and in such a healthy positive environment.  It’s all thanks to the passion and love these people have for their work and their coworkers.

27. What made you feel good?

Friends.  Awesome clients.  Learning that people appreciate and respect what you are trying to accomplish and that they will lift you up with no ulterior motives.  Just the goodness in people is so touching and never forgotten.

28. What celebrity did you most fancy?

Chris Pratt.

29. Who did you miss?

Friends.  As the focus of our lives changes with time I find that I miss my dearest friends the most, even though I make an effort to see them at least once every two months, I still miss the days of seeing each other multiple times a week 🙂

Heather – even though we spent a long weekend together in May, I still miss you 🙂

Amy – Can’t wait to see this lady in March 2016!

30. What was your best month?

I want to see the last week of June and first week of July simply because of the traveling, but I may have to say September.  I had such a blast this fall photographing weddings with Kaitlin.  Not only were our couples so much fun to be with leading up to and on the days of their respective weddings, but she and I had so much fun preparing for these weddings.  This lady has me in stitches during the entire lifespan of a wedding and when one is over I find myself looking forward to the next one, because I know we will rock it and have the best time doing so.  Also, an amazing professional opportunity was placed before me that, if it has roots, will shift the course of my life indefinitely and September was the start of that.

31. Is there anything you could have done better?

Cooked more often.  Blogged more.

32. How will next year be different from this?

I want to be more intentional about taking steps.  I’m potentially hitting a big fork in the road within the first quarter of the new year and I don’t want that to paralyze me as often happens when I’m faced with big decisions.  I need to keep walking through those moments and trust that God will walk beside me.  My plan is to keep walking in every direction – if that makes sense – and if that’s not the path I’m supposed to be on a door will close, but I’ll keep taking steps.  Keep taking steps 🙂

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