justine ash

1. 01. 2017

a new year


2016 was an interesting year. Never before have I heard of so many wishing for a year to end. It seems that 2017 is not only being welcomed with open arms; some have been chasing its arrival since around, oh, mid-October. Personally, the last twelve months were kind and offered fresh challenges and opportunities for my family and I – a new business, the proud milestone of entering the ‘school years’, a family holiday, and a trip to New York – all now firmly cemented as memories. Of course, as is life, not everything worked out perfectly, but I try to remember the example of how we react to what we are dealt is just as significant as the event itself.

The decision to take the leap and solely focus on my business at the beginning of the year was a defining moment. As any fellow anxious, first-born perfectionist would attest there’s nothing like the putting it all on the line and exposing your true self to induce self doubt, and (at times) a feeling of nausea. There were ups and downs, victories and disappointments, but overall the past year was one of hard work, creativity, satisfaction, and accomplishment. I styled some amazing homes, met many kind people, and had the opportunity to collaborate with some fantastic brands. For all of this I am truly grateful.

2016 was also the year New York and I finally met. After years of working, building houses, having babies, moving, working and saving, my husband and I decided that we would take a two-week break and stop to smell the ‘West Village’ roses. We strolled, I took photos, we dined at Buddakan (more than once!), we cycled Central Park and took in a magnificent sunset at the Top Of The Rock. A truly magical experience that has ignited a desire to be a better creative and a personal goal to truly live life to the fullest.

As we all look forward to the clean slate of a new year, its easy to get caught up in creating a list of resolutions, which for many represent nothing more than the echo of similar lists, discarded and unfulfilled in years gone by. I’m not going to bore you with an exhaustive list of resolutions, in fact (as you have probably guessed) I’m not sure I even support the notion of their making. What I do believe in is the power of learning and the opportunity for improvement. So as I reflect on the year that was and hang the 2017 calendar with fresh gusto and renewed energy, there are a few improvements I hope to make as the new year unfolds – to loosen the reigns of perfection and remember that comparison is the thief of all joy.

It’s quite ironic actually, that as a stylist I love ‘the perfection of imperfection’ and often feel when an interior or photographic scene is too perfect, it lacks life and individuality. Yet, like many others, striving for that ever alluring work/ life balance, I do not allow this thinking to apply to myself. Therefore, as 2017 unfolds I hope to do just this – I am not perfect and that is ok. Since starting my little business I have found myself continually comparing my achievements with others and, in turn, tend to use this as the ‘yard stick’ of self worth; a trap that I would be sad if my own children fell into yet, as a 38 year old woman, a habit I find difficult to break. In 2017, my aim is to run my own race, take on only projects that I find inspiring, and listen to my gut instincts more.

So in 2017 let’s be each others champions, celebrate the success, support the failure, and face the fear. And if you, like me, would be more comfortable trying to achieve this while sporting your favourite Gucci loafers or Prada flats, there is nothing wrong with that either.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2017.