I’ve been quiet this past two weeks just contemplating and trying to make sense of my thoughts. I’ve been on this path to self-discovery for a while – figuring what makes me come alive so I can pursue it further. And although I’m crystal clear on my passions, the direction I’m taking is threatening to wobble …
I used to be career-driven and envisioned myself as a great architect someday. Well, that’s why I studied for it, right? And for a while, I was satisfied – seeing buildings and houses built with my designs. I even had an answer for my greater purpose – to promote green living and sustainability through architecture. Eventually, my “muse” started complaining – my thirst for creativity was not being fully quenched and it was getting restless. I didn’t mind so much having days when all I did was deal with building officials and contractors, or days when I just worked on boring technical drawings. I know it’s all part of the process. But what I realized is that all architects are slaves to their clients – You get all fired up with visions of innovative designs and labor at your drawing board. But then what? Your designs stay on paper (or I suppose in your computer) unless someone pays you to build them. And it’s not like a lot of people have hundreds of thousands of dollars lying at their disposal – especially in our current economy. So where’s the fulfillment in that? We’re not like other artists who when they feel that burst of passion, can create a masterpiece without the need for a patron.
Now everything happens for a purpose. My career took a backseat when I decided I wanted to dedicate more time to my family. I slowed down and eventually took a break from my profession to focus on caring for my two lovely girls. This break has given me the perfect opportunity to explore my passions and reassess what I want to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still in love with architecture. I just feel that I need to be more creative with my career choice – plus now, I need something that will fit my family life.
And you’re thinking, “Why is this so important to her?” … Because I’m following the “making a living doing what you love” and “living on purpose everyday” philosophy. Simply put, I don’t want to be like most people – a drone to everyday existence; I want to be “alive” because as Howard Thurman said, “It’s what the world needs.”
Ok, instead of discussing my list of passions – you know, things I absolutely love doing – and there’s a few of them, how about I just mention which one I’m currently focusing on? PHOTOGRAPHY.
I know a lot of people who are into photography as a hobby and it’s not hard to understand its charisma – the “seeing/exploring the world”, the “capturing the moment” – and it’s these reasons + the artistic expression and instant gratification that draw me to explore it further, to learn more, to maybe pursue it as a career.
So what’s bugging me? What was on my mind these past two weeks? Well, I’m a classical learner. After all, to become an architect, you need 5 years of education, 2 years apprenticeship, and a set of rigorous registration exams. I’m scared that professional photography is so easy to get into. Now I’m not saying photography is easy. Producing exceptional images is truly a skill – an art. I’m just turned off by the fact that so many people call themselves “professional photographers” just because they own a camera and have earned income producing mediocre images. Everyone starts somewhere, but what does it say about the market when there is always someone willing to pay a budget price for those sub-par shots, from photographers claiming they’ve been doing this for 10, 20, even 30 years? It bothers me.
Luckily, there is a plethora of amazing photographers out there continuing to inspire and remind me why I am on this path (Just browse through the NAPP Portfolios or the forums at FredMiranda.com and you’ll see what I mean.) – and a very supportive husband who keeps telling me to keep exploring my passions and just enjoy the journey.