2018: A Year for Love
I am not quite sure what I envisioned at this time last year for my life. I was 80% sure I wanted to move back to Texas from New York, continue taking photos, and work on my relationships within my community. But if you’d have told me I would accomplish everything I did—file my business as a DBA, start Womxn In Music ATX, photograph my first wedding, become a house photographer for a venue, get engaged, GET MARRIED—I’m not sure I would have believed you. (Especially about the whole MARRIAGE thing!!)
I know that I personally struggle to really enjoy milestones when they happen, which is why I actually really enjoy the end of the year. It’s important to step back and see how far you’ve come in a mere 365 days.
God worked all kinds of wonders in my personal life this year. He blessed me with a wonderful new church family where I found a love for the kids ministry and community to grow in my faith with. He re-established old friendships and strengthened them. He planted a seed in Bryan and I’s heart about marriage that actually blossomed into a wedding in December.
Professionally, 2018 was a year for planting and fertilizing some pretty big seeds. I officially established Tess Cagle Photography as a DBA and dived into couples session for the first time ever—and boy, I didn’t expect to love them as much as I do. I even photographed two small weddings. As a music photographer, I picked up more gigs for local bands and became a house photographer for the Mohawk—a dream of mine I didn’t even know I had until I achieved it. I am over the moon to say now that I made enough money to survive this year through my photo business and freelance writing.
At the same time, I founded a community organization with one of my good friends, called Womxn In Music ATX, which fosters networking amongst womxn who work in the local music industry. Our grassroots organization merged with another one with a similar mission at the end of 2018 so now we have over 400 members—talk about crazy growth in just a single year.
I say all of this not to humble brag, but to own my successes and share with you that whatever you’re dreaming of accomplishing next year is DOABLE. So much of the good came from getting off my booty and making things happen myself; using my own two hands (with the help of Jesus) to build the life I wanted. It wasn’t by chance or luck that I became a full-time freelancer + business owner, or that I founded a community organization that brings me immense joy and focus, or that I married my best friend. It was by intentional prayer and the decision to just go for it.
My advice to all of you in 2019: don’t wait for your “destiny,” CREATE IT. (And be kind to others, lifting one another up in the process, always.)
Next year, I’m looking to lay the next layer down of my life foundation. Here’s a few of my goals—both personal and professional—for next year:
Photograph 10 weddings
Get married (again!) in front of all my friends and fam
Finish reading the Bible in entirety
Go on a short-term tour with a band
Become more present within both the local music community and the advocacy community; being able to say I show up more often to learn than I do as a paid photographer
Be the friend who always shows up and is EXTRA supportive
Disciple someone <3
Buy a house (!!)
Double my annual income
GET A DOG
Anyways, here’s my fave photos and mems from 2018.