I was looking through my Facebook memories recently when I saw something that caught my eye. It was a status that I had written about 4 years ago.
"I hate my job so much. I'm so miserable."
At the time, I had a good paying job (well, good enough to pay my rent and not starve anyway) and I was a full-time college student who had changed my major from Architecture to Business with a focus in Retail. Besides working full-time and going to school full-time, I also had a part-time job that I would work on my days off, though I gave that up after a while. I'd wake up, attend a few classes until the afternoon, go to work, get off a little after midnight, write some papers, sleep for 4-5 hours, and then do it all again the next day. This was my life and it was exhausting. It wasn't even the fact that I was constantly doing something that was the exhausting part. I felt like I was running a marathon where I wasn't even sure where the finish line was. I was lost. The major I was studying wasn't what I wanted to be studying. The job I had wasn't my "dream" job. I wasn't even sure what my dream job was! I was overwhelmed, stressed, and most of all, so unhappy.
After my husband and I got married, I quit my job and we moved across the country. This was my chance for a new start. I promised myself that whatever I did from this point forward, it would be something that fuels my soul and makes me truly happy. And I did. But it wasn't photography, yet. It was becoming a mom. When we found out we were expecting, it sparked something inside of me that I had never felt. Though we weren't planning on starting a family for a couple more years, knowing that we were going to be bringing a new life into our own gave us both such joy and a new sense of purpose.
After having my son, I bought a camera because I wanted to take some awesome photos of him and hang them around the house. As I got to know my camera better, I started to feel that spark again, the spark I had felt when I found out I was expecting. I was falling in love with this craft. I found myself getting excited for the chance to pick up my camera, take a photo, and make it into something great. Feeling this way about photography was refreshing, and it was reassuring. I wasn't doing this because I had to or because it was something I was supposed to be doing, and that made my love for it feel even more real. When you find something you're truly passionate about, putting in that extra work to make yourself better doesn't feel like work at all. Those years ago when I was working all the time and going to school all the time, I felt overworked and, honestly, none of it felt worth it. Now, I spend most of my free time taking online photography and business courses when I'm not tending to my son or editing photos. Even though I'm just as busy as I was before, it all feels different now; it feels worth it.
Passion makes a difference.
Ask yourself this: Are you happy? I know happiness is so general and subjective, so look at it this way. Is there something in your daily routine that you look forward to? Is there something that makes it worth it? If the answer is no, then you have some work to do. I'm not telling you to quit your job or anything, because for most people that isn't a practical solution. But pick up a hobby. Find something that you aren't obligated to do and that makes you happy, and do it! Some people like to paint, read, work out ( I am not one of those people, but more power to them!), play a sport, or just simply spend time with some great people. Whatever it is that speaks to your soul, find it and hold onto it forever. You'll be so thankful that you did.
A friend snuck a photo of me during a shoot a while back. Camera in hand, smile on my face.