It’s becoming a practice for me to write reflection post come year end and I have been doing so since I started blogging in 2006. This year was slightly special because I’ve officially graduated from college (university for some of you) which is huge for me because it concludes the end of a really long bittersweet journey.

When I was younger I’ve always thought growing up feels like a very long process – every year I was going through the same routine of going to school, listening to lectures, taking examinations, and that’s all I had to worry about – college was similar with some added perks which I liked more than school itself but at some point I wondered if I’ll ever get past all that, I couldn’t wait to be an adult and stand on my own feet and pursue my dreams. This year, it finally happened, in a surreal kind of way. There was no more school to look forward to – the next step from then on would entail something entirely different and it wasn’t as peachy as I’d imagined and it really taught me a lot of good lessons.

While all of us sang our Alma mater in the commencement ceremony back in May 20th, a mixture of feeling consumes me – it was a bit of everything: fear, elation, confusion, pride, and a whole lot of nostalgia. Yes I was glad to be done with school but I was both anxious and fearful of what’s next. I was mostly sad because I had to leave the city I fell in love with three years ago, and there was a lot of flashbacks, regrets and what ifs attacking my happy thoughts of being finally done – could I have done better in school? Should I have majored in something else? Why did I make those mistakes I made last year…. This strange confusing struggle between being protected under the institution of academia and real world wasn’t something I was prepared for, not the least. I can finally understand why some people choose to stay to buy some time before they’re ready for the latter.

It wasn’t an option for me. I was born for the real world and I’m not backing down no matter what. However I didn’t jump right in to the first job that I could get, I took 6 months after graduation off to settle down back home, take a much needed break before I start a new job in 2013. I was able to do a lot of soul searching during these 6 months doing the things I love – photography, write, read and spend quality time with the family, while searching for a job that I believe would make a huge difference in my career path. The fact that I took it easy had given me enough time to make wise and thoughtful decisions, despite all odds and challenges, I was very fortunate my hard work and perseverance paid off – an effort which landed me a job with a company I could only dream of working for. I count my blessings everyday because I truly believe I’m a very blessed individual, luck always seem to be by my side at very crucial times in my life.

Another milestone in my life that I’d achieved in 2012 was launching my own photography business early this year. Among the projects I did was photographing over 30 portraiture sessions, UW’s first Fashion Week, non-profit organization Custom Canines and United Nation lecture series, and various on-campus events while I was a final semester senior in college. The funny thing is I had never been more confident about photography, than I have about everything else that I have done. When I hold the camera in my hands, I feel very powerful – I could make things happen my way or capture things the way it is. It is an unspoken authority but more importantly, it allows me to share my point of view with those who care. I love writing and I’m articulate in public speaking but to me, photos and images can impose a greater message than words can ever be.

I’m so glad I discovered this passion of mine at this point in my life because I still have the time and energy to nurture the skills, vision and artistry of my work. Since the inception of my project I had been affiliated and recognized by Getty Images, PhotoVogue by Vogue Italia and WPPM. My work has also been published in local newspapers. I have also garnered a considerable amount of following on the internet and just this past month I joined a cocktail recipe book project as the official photographer; the book is pending release in 2013. Again I’m utterly grateful for all the opportunities that have been directed at me since I made the decision to establish a brand for my work.

2012 was also a year filled with adventures. I’d visited more places in United States than I have in years and fell in love with every one of them – New Orleans, Lexington, New York City, Southwest America – Nevada, Utah and Arizona, all of which are historically rich, unique in their own ways. I also proved the importance of traveling with people whose company you enjoy and not for the sake of traveling and see places. What I love about traveling is the whole learning process – from scouting locations, accommodations, eateries to the historical landmarks, everything requires a good amount of research. It marvels me how capable we are at adapting though – I truly believe it’s possible to survive anywhere on the face of the earth, except north pole, I’m not a huge fan of the cold. I usually had the most fun from interacting with the locals and other tourists, that’s for sure – it’s like fate working its magic when strangers meet at the most random places on earth. I still keep in touch with people I met through my travels. I don’t believe traveling needs to be luxurious but instead it should bear meaning and stories. There are many things that you can buy with money, but not everything.

Some of the fun things I did during this 6 months break was getting my hair permed, a new look for the new year. I also caught the Zumba fever and lost some weight. I had a wart removal surgery and I’m still recovering from it, not exactly the way I wanted 2012 to end but it’s now or never since the bugger has been bugging me for years – so out goes the bad, in comes the good.

Now that 2012 has come to an end I’m ushering the new year with a brand new job in a new city. But one thing remains the same – I’m still me, a better version of myself.

How was 2012 like for you?

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