The first time I read Anne Frank, I couldn’t have been more than 10. I bought a journal at the next book fair, and started journal-ing. Reading Anne Frank started me on the road to writing down my thoughts and to my college degree. I have a box of journals, from that first diary to the multiple journals I filled while studying abroad. I wrote every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Journaling was my way of making sense of the words in my head, and while studying abroad, of recording the emotions that often threatened to overwhelm me. I’d sit in a cafe, or on a train, and write. I’d write and write until I felt like I could handle the world again.

Sometime during college, my journaling slowed. I picked it back up again when I spent a semester abroad, but I wasn’t as consistent as before. And then slowly…I stopped. As an act, journaling was a way for me to write down what was happening in my life, to reflect on the past. It was a way for me to look back, and see progress.

So, last year, when a friend introduced me to 10Q, I was intrigued. 10 days, 10 questions, and then they’re locked up and sent to you a year later.

Inspired by the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a time for reflection, it allowed me a way to write down how I felt, and not worry about keeping it up every day. I wrote my answers last fall, and they were sent to me last week. As predicted, I’d completely forgotten about my 10Q by the time my , and it was a bit of a rush to look through all the things in my mind last fall, and how things have (and have not) changed.

Methow Valley Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

I wrote about buying our house, and how it was the perfect place for us. A year later, I’m even happier we picked this house and this neighborhood, although there have been times I’ve wondered if all the blood, sweat, and tears have been worth it.

“we hadn’t planned on buying yet, but this house that was more or less perfect came up and we fell in love. It wasn’t a short or easy process, but we’re so happy here…plus, we live in a wonderful neighborhood. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much our neighborhood makes me happy. Living in a neighborhood that works together and has friendly – neighborly – people is so fantastic. We’ve lived in a lot of apartment complexes where we never met the people we shared walls with.”

Time and time again, I’m in awe of the neighborhood we live in. I love living in South Perry, and my only regret is that I haven’t been more active in integrating myself into the community as a business owner. Hopefully that’s something I can accomplish in the next year.

Alaska on Film // Emily Wenzel Photography

I wrote a lot about our trip to Alaska, and how seeing the glaciers changed the way I viewed the world. Even a year later, I look back on our trip to Alaska as something that changed my life. It was so beautiful. And when you get to see something so magnificent up close…I still don’t know that I have the words to explain it.

I also wrote about my business, because it was something I really struggled with. Moving to Spokane wasn’t hard, but moving an existing business to a new market is not easy. And I haven’t said much about it, but it was an experience I don’t ever want to repeat. If, for some reason, we moved again, I don’t know that I would move my business. It was a headache, and it’s taken me two years to feel like the business belongs here in Spokane.

“I’ve struggled to separate myself from my work. I’ve struggled to separate Emily from Emily Wenzel Photography. And that has made it hard to take criticism or rejection, because I feel like they’re rejecting me. I really am struggling to remember, to remind myself for the next year, that I am not my job. And maybe, even more importantly, the job is not me.”

I’m happy to say that, in the past year, I’ve done a better job of creating a (mental, actual) divide between myself as a person, and the business as a brand. It’s a constant struggle, and one that I’m sure, as a small business owner, I’ll always have to work around.

I’m glad I did 10Q last year, and it started on Sunday, so if you’re thinking about doing it, I’d encourage you to do so! It’s a simple way to make some goals, get things written down, and reflect on the past year (and the coming one). You can sign up here.