A Look Back at 2016

Well, we are two days away from 2017 and what a whirlwind this year has been! I wanted to take some time to write a personal post that reflects on this past year, to shed some light, encouragement and truth on my journey thus far in 2016. When I say this year was a roller-coaster ride I mean it in every sense! Full of highs, lows and loops I am beyond ready for a fresh start in 2017 but definitely wouldn't trade this past year for anything.

For the first six months of 2016, I was navigating a full-time job, a great friend group and working on my personal brand & ventures in Tampa, FL. This was pretty much what consumed all my time, but on top of that, my other half pictured above was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba serving a deployment for the Navy. Stephen and I had only been dating for one year before he left (actually, we celebrated our year a month after he left) and I constantly got questioned if 'it was worth it' and 'how are you doing this, I could never!' Even though those words hurt, I took this as my own ammo and responded, "Yeah! It is tough but we're doing it and we're going to make it through." Although I didn't want to define 2016 as a trying year for our relationship, it was, but we own it and are better for it.

I am SO thankful that this deployment was in a place where I didn't fear for a phone call each day, but communication was hard and 9 months without seeking your other half besides a few FaceTime calls is NOT easy. It took me investing in this website, my brand, my job and my friends to keep my mind busy, but it taught us so many things about ourselves, our relationship and what we value.

I learned the importance of patience, communication and putting others before myself. I learned that it's OK to invest in yourself, personally and professionally and take some leaps that might be scary but necessary for growth. If it wasn't for this deployment, I don't think I would've taken the leap to full-time freelance in November, and moved my life to Jacksonville, FL to be with Stephen for this next phase of life.

Life as a freelancer is all it's cracked up to be and a bunch of other things nobody tells you. You are your own motivator, boss, employee, and coach. You are challenged with working with all types of clients each day, putting on real pants, getting out of the house to work and constantly working on your business while taking on anything you can handle to stay afloat. It is exhilarating, exhausting and amazing. I had probably a new idea each day and only 5 came to fruition. This seems to be a pattern that I'm learning to take in stride and give myself grace when I can't do it all.

I am so excited for 2017 thanks to these adventures this year. I feel prepared, motivated and ready to take on a new city, make new friends and grow my business to great levels – although I'm not sure what that is yet. Knowing what is in store for Stephen and I and the Navy is always uncertain, but now that we're together, I'm sure we can navigate it all with confidence, great communication and love. I can't wait to continue to share this journey with you and hopefully find others who have gone through similar situations in military life, freelance and especially those running creative businesses. I respect you and absolutely love learning from you!

Here's to a fresh start a new year and new adventures.

xo,

SH

LIFESarah Heyl