“We’re all told that we can make our dreams a reality, that you can turn your passion into your career if you try hard enough and never give up. But in the practical sense, if you’ve put 4 years, thousands of dollars and then invested 10 years into a career, how much can you really expect to still go for that dream? It’s never too late, but how do we decide when to transition and how to transition and if it’s a good idea and if we’re ready?”
First of all, thank you. Thank you for reaching out, thank you for participating and thank you for asking such a wonderful question – one I’ve asked so many times, and still continue to ask myself.
I went to college to study photojournalism, a career I still admire to this day. I also still cherish and delight in photography and I even get paid for it! I’ve been published in newspapers and I’ve even received notes and had calls with National Geographic editors. But, I’m not a photojournalist. I work at a small Consumer Packaged Goods advertising agency.
I’ve dreamed of becoming a great many things – a criminal psychologist, translator for government agencies, a baker, teacher, and even a blimp driver (which turns out is just a pilot and requires way more work/education/money than I actually thought necessary). Then, I wanted to become a photographer, a journalist, a graphic designer, website designer, and videographer. So I did. I studied, I spent tens of thousands of dollars, years of my life, and even more years of my life paying back the tens of thousands of dollars.
Yet, here I sit – a non-photojournalist.
I think it’s less about “transitioning” and “when it’s a good idea” and more about the making your dreams a reality part. I don’t consider myself a Director of Business Development at an advertising agency. I consider myself a cat-mom, a stargazer, a wannabe poet, a yogi, a Buddhist, a photographer, a journalist, a see-er of the unseen, a friend, a wife, sister, daughter, aunt (none of this is in order, I feel like I should rearrange this list).
What I’m trying to say is, if you’re unhappy – change it. I wanted to write, so I started to write. I wanted to take more photos, so I started taking more photos and now I’ve booked so many gigs (paid!) that I have had to outsource to colleagues from school. I want to do my graphic design, website design, videography and be a boss lady – so I work at an ad agency. Sometimes you don’t really need a full-fledged plan just to begin. You can just begin.
If the day comes where my photography can provide the type of lifestyle I want, then I will have a new choice to make. If the day comes where my writing can provide the financial security that I have now, a new choice. If the day comes where my infamous no-sugar, no-wheat, totally vegan pancakes (which are actually totally amazing) somehow land me my own cooking show, again, another choice. Until then, I am responsible for my activities, the experiences that make up this human expression on Earth. So, I’m doing all the things I wanna do – time, energy and sanity be damned!
Sit somewhere comfortable, somewhere warm and cozy and ask yourself, “what would make me feel fulfilled?” When I asked myself this, my gut-punch answer was “I want to write and I want to photograph.” So here I am, writing a post at 11:30pm before a full work day because I want to write and when I’m done writing this, I’m going to scour through my files for a photograph I took to post with it. Find your gut-punch answer and then you’ll be surprised how much more time you suddenly have in a day.
Keep writing me, share your progress, your struggles, your successes and let me know what it’s like to fly a blimp!