I couldn’t tell you exactly what day of the year it was, at what time, or even who I was talking to. What I can tell you is I was sitting at my desk, with a lobby full of people needing to be helped, and all I could think about was how much I missed my little guy. Spiraling thoughts of how I ended up where I was, doing what I do, were preventing me from focusing on the people in front of me. That’s when I realized. This wasn’t an option, it was a calling. A feeling that I couldn’t shake, that I had to share my passion with the world. I had no idea, at that moment, that my life would change forever. Or even more, just how much it would change.
It was like any other morning. Get the kid ready for daycare, beg him to eat some food, try to calm down the incessant screaming at drop off, grab a much-needed coffee, and show up to work 5 minutes late with my boss giving me “the look”. I’m sure you know the look I am talking about. The “I’m not mad just disappointed”. The one all you parents out there know all too well and have perfected. I sat down at my desk feeling exhausted, broken, and beaten inside. It was at that moment I thought, “what the hell am I doing here?” I was in a career I hated, and for what?
I always have been a creative and hands-on person. I started my career, at a young age, in retail and fell in love. I soon worked up to being an assistant manager but found what I loved most was doing visuals. And I was good at it! I landed a job in the visual world creating displays for big box retailers. However, a few years before Covid hit there were large cuts in the retail world, and at one of the stores I was working for I was the first to go. At that moment I realized I was in a volatile field, and I would be the first to go at any sign of trouble. So I jumped ship.
What would make me happy though? I had been in the retail and visual world for the last 12 years of my life. A few people had recommended banking to me, and all I could think about was how much money I could make. It was perfect I got hired on making more than I ever made in retail. I was soon promoted which meant a raise and insane bonuses. I found the good life, making decent money and working at a desk….until it wasn’t anymore.
My world imploded. I was doing, I was being, the person I never wanted to be. Stuck in a mundane career I hated, day after day doing the same thing. A meaningless job where I wasn’t really needed. What was I going to tell my kid when he was old enough…to just settle? What example was I setting…that money was more important than being happy.
It was time for a change, but what? We were out getting our pictures taken by a friend of mine from the bank. We started talking about photography, and our passion for it. I have always loved taking photos. Ever since I was little and could help my grandpa in his dark room. I remember one day getting so incredibly frustrated with my husband because every time he would take a picture of me the composition was wrong. He would cut me off at weird spots or have incredibly way too much sky in the background. One day after getting frustrated with him he said, “it’s not natural for me you just get it, you know how to compose a picture way better than I do”. I never even considered that that was a thing you could just not understand.
As we were getting our photos done I told this girl how much I wanted to be a photographer, and how I was jealous that she got to be her own boss and make her own schedule. She looked at me and said, “then do it”. She asked me why if it was a passion of mine I didn’t just pursue it, and that got me thinking. What was I afraid of? I was at a time in my life when we were making good money and both of us had stable jobs, really it was the perfect timing. So I did it. I went out and bought my first camera and haven’t stopped taking pictures since then. I went part-time at my job to slowly work into being full-time with photography, and haven’t looked back since.
So, what is the point of all this, you ask? What am I trying to get at? Here it is, life is short. Don’t just settle and expect to be happy. Insert all the inspirational quotes: “money won’t make you happy”, “life is short follow your dreams”, and “you can do anything you set your mind to”. So on and so on. My hope here is that even though you already know alllll the inspirational quotes this will touch someone out there, and inspire them to pursue their passions, just like I did. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.