Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chase Your Dreams

5 years ago this week, I was sitting at a restaurant with my entire family, including my parents.

The topic of conversation was very heavy. I was MISERABLE. We were young and extremely poor, we had two children, I had a very secure job with free childcare for my baby Gabby, free tuition to one of the top private schools in the area for my preschooler Mikey, great benefits, unlimited access to my kids whenever I had a break, and was always just a short walk away from my Dad, who worked at the same place I did. Yet I had been taking pictures for years, studying and practicing, and in the winter had begun taking paid clients and received my tax and business licenses. The hours from doing the photography AND working full time at the church were too much, and I had to choose one.

Did I take the safe route, where I was unchallenged and just getting through the day? Or did I really take a chance and try and make a full time career of my passion?

I sat at the table with my parents weighing the pros and cons. Finally, I said "OK, I think I'm going to turn in my notice tomorrow. I'm going to do this." I promptly jumped up from the table, ran to the bathroom and was sick. This was absolutely the scariest thing I had EVER done.

I remember that my boss was not surprised. She saw it coming. She had watched as parent after parent would file into our office over the months, requesting photo shoots. She wasn't happy about my leaving, but she definetly understood.

2 weeks later I worked my last day, said tearful goodbyes to all the parents and friends I had made, and to my Dad who hated to not be able to see his daughter and grandchildren every single day, and walked out the door with the feeling that I had NEVER FELT SO ALIVE. Scared, yes, but it was like my eyes were open to the world for the first time, and the possibilities seemed endless.

What followed was definetly NOT a piece of cake. Guillaume Barre Syndrome hit me the week I left and I was incapacitated for months. Then learning to balance the Mom thing and the working thing, all at home. Then another baby, and then the difficult events of this past year. But the business has never suffered, it took off on it's own and it has thrived for years, and I truly believe it is because of the passion behind it.

When you love something so much, everything just falls into place. If you would have told me back then that in 5 years I'd be a single mom of three kids, living in a house I bought in Plano, supporting myself and the family....well, I might not have gotten so sick at the restaurant :)

I definetly have my moments of burnout, but only because when your passion becomes your way to pay the bills, it can sometimes feel less fun and more like a burden. But I have always found a way to make it exciting again.

And what is REALLY cool about this milestone is that my younger brother Tim just turned in his resignation to his miserable job today, and is going to chase his dreams full force as well. I know the rush of adrenaline and anxiety and fear and excitement that he feels right now all too well. I am SO proud of him and know from experience that he will succeed and be happy.

Life is too short not to love your life and to be stuck just paying bills and getting by. Chase your dreams, whatever they are!!!
(this is Gabby, who is now the middle child, at the time that I quit my job 5 yrs ago)

and here she is this weekend, before her dance recital. *sigh*
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Karen said...

Glad you shared this story. I cannot believe you have been taking our pictures almost as long. We had our first session in 2005.

melissa said...


Nikki said...

Wow. What an inspiring story. Your work is beautiful and you have done so well for yourself and your family. You've got a lot to be proud of, that's for sure!

Sherri said...

This is a beautiful post! I've been following your blog for awhile and have always admired your work. Now that I know a bit of the story behind it all makes it all that much more special. I wish you all the best with your career for many more years!

Sherri said...

I meant to add in my earlier post that I wish I lived closer to you! You'd be photographing my girls in a heartbeat!