2013 brought us substantial personal growth. Over our six years together we’ve adopted a mantra that is often delivered with a devilish smile: “We can do hard things.” We usually bust this out at the base of a mountain climb, when work or studies become hair pulling (first world problems like learning and having a job that pays the bills is hard, you know?), or when we just feel like patronizing the other for the sport of it. This year was an unexpected world rocker. Amidst Nate’s preparation for the most intense process of his 4th year of med school we got a surprise in the form of a major paradigm shift (Think treading water during a tsunami for 8 months straight. Yay!). We got our derrières handed to us. But, like any other Nate-Kimber year we managed to squeeze in our beloved adventures. We even found ourselves rock climbing in Kalymnos, swimming in the Aegean and sipping Greek coffee outside of little cafés in Athens (the kind that puts hair on your chest, back, and even the palms of your hands I imagine, if you drink it enough). In the end, although 2013 gave us our toughest obstacle and there’d been times we’d both said “I’d never wish this on anyone.” we came out stronger, happier, and absolutely more in love. This year we both changed. A lot. In many ways we got to know each other all over again. I’ve been completely awe struck by this “new” side of my husband that has all of these fascinating layers. I’ve always known it, but exposed in this new light I’ve gotten to know my husband as the truly wonderful, good person he is right down to his core. I didn’t know loving Nate more than I already did was possible, but this year I fell in love all over and I fell hard.
Nate’s been traveling from city to city visiting residency programs for a month at a time, so our time together over the past few months has been limited to say the least. Holiday cards are one of my favorite things, so although we didn’t have much time we managed to squeeze in a shoot during our 10 hr straight drive from Salt Lake City to Albuquerque. We stopped in Moab, where we’ve made many unforgettable memories together, and I photographed us for our holiday card. We hadn’t taken photos together in over 2 yrs, so it was a good reminder of what my clients feel being in front of the camera and also seeing the finished product. In my experience people are hypercritical when they see photographs of themselves. I found that I was cringing at myself as I culled through our shoot, but then I noticed the looks we had shared and our body language. I was reminded of the year we had gotten through; how the two people in the photos were stronger having shared something only they knew. It no longer mattered that we had pulled our rumpled clothes out of a duffel bag, had combed our hair in a 7 Eleven, or that he’d made me smile so hard my teeth resembled those of a horse. With all of their imperfections, I love these photos. They’ve documented what a couple looks like after having been pushed into the deep end while having the other’s hand to clasp onto during the long tread. These are the smiles of two people who’ve reached dry land; where the view is more beautiful than anything they’ve ever seen before.
For 2014 I haven’t made too many specific resolutions. If 2013 has taught me anything it’s that we can think we know what we want or what is best and life will laugh back at us. If I have one hope for the new year it’s that it may be hard. Because hard is the long, grueling hike up the mountain filled with thoughts of turning back, and the gift of a breathtaking view you can only see when you reach the top. Besides, easy is stagnant. Easy isn’t growing. Easy doesn’t have vistas. While we said we’d never wish what we went through on anyone, hindsight we wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’re only better people and a closer couple because of it. So with that, I hope that 2014 is everything you hope it to be, but most of all I hope it gives you a run for your money. Happy New Year and may it be hard!