2020 in Pictures

image of steph shanks photography standing on side of bluff

The Beginning – What I thought

What I thought was happening before the pandemic started, was that 2020 was going to be the best year ever. When the pandemic first started, I wanted to start a new company that would help businesses better build and understand their brand.  At the beginning of March, I was looking for co-working spaces in Madison.  I couldn’t wait to build a new business and couldn’t wait to combine my love for digital marketing, photography, and design to help small businesses grow.  By the end of March, I was sitting at home- trying to figure out what in the world was happening.  I couldn’t have a co-working space,  my photography business was considered unessential, most of my children were all of a sudden home trying online schooling.  With a looming pandemic, I was scared for my son who has cerebral palsy.  Everything just came to a screeching, scary stop.

This photo was taken right before the pandemic. Ready to take the world on.

Messy Middle – Non Acceptance

Trying to reflect on what exactly has happened from March until November is difficult for me.  The word “nonacceptance” comes to mind.  I just thought that if I tried hard enough that everything would be o.k.  Silly me, I thought that this was about me.  I let go of the idea of having an office in Madison, I gave up the idea of starting a new company.  I spent time working on my photography business and opened a studio that I could go to whenever I needed a creative space to hang out. I wanted to be ‘ready’ for when things went back to normal. Wanting to keep my head up high, I wanted to show the world that I was thriving.  (More on this next.) My life though was not thriving.  Trying to keep a happy face when I was slowly dying inside is like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose.  It wasn’t working.  For hours, I would stare at my computer screen- and I wouldn’t even know what I was doing.  Work piled up, homework with the kids piled up, laundry piled up.  I was still in nonacceptance,  I just wanted to get to the next day.  For some odd reason, I always felt like the next day would be better.  Slowly, I was fading.

December 2020 – Acceptance

2020 for me, has taught me acceptance.  Acceptance of who I am and being o.k with that.  For me, knowing that I have a place in this world and people that love me is truly enough.  I have learned to not push through the hard stuff because that hard stuff has some really valuable lessons.  I have learned to accept that I cannot change people, and I have accepted that people cannot change me.  Who I am is who I am.  I have learned that I don’t have to put myself on hold to make other people happy.  I have accepted that other people’s happiness does not depend on me what so ever, and that is very freeing.  I feel like through this whole 2020 craziness, I have become free.  Accepting that I do not know the answers, accepting that I am who I am, accepting failure and defeat.  All of it, to me, is freedom.

I would love to see your 2020 in pictures! What have you learned about yourself? What did you have to let go of?

Feel free to email me at Stephanie@Stephshanks.com