“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis
I’m the kind of person that runs “what-if’ scenarios through my mind. Do you ever do this? Wonder what could have been if you had chosen one career path over another? Moved to a different city instead of staying in your hometown? Even after getting my first “grown-up” job I spent a fair amount of my time daydreaming about what my life could have been if I pursued a career in photography. I was barely in my twenties and in a professional career I knew I could be proud of on the surface, but not at all truly passionate about.
I dreamt of experiencing the struggle and success of being a freelance photographer. After years of making safe choices, I decided to put a stop to all the what-if daydreams and started exploring the possibilities of working in the creative industry.
I quit my day job and went all in.
If you ever decide to quit your job and pursure your dreams, I highly recommend putting a rock-solid savings before doing so. In fact, I beg that you do this. Within days of putting in my notice at work, I started panicking about how I was going to pay my bills. I needed to make money as a photographer and do it FAST.
It had been years since I had picked up a camera, so like most photographers I spent my time exploring a variety of genres. Practice makes progress, and I wanted to practice a little of everything. Despite going through one (or five) complete freak-outs from quitting my very safe, extremely stable day job, I began to thrive as a photographer. Within a few months I had expanded my network and was doing consistent work in food, product, and weddings.
Within a year, I had met what felt like more people than I had met in my lifetime. I learned how to properly manage my business, organize my time and fine-tuned my shoot style.
I also learned that I loved photography far too much to make it my day job.
I realized that I started the year questioning if I could thrive as a photographer, but by the end of the year I knew that I already had my answer. I could do whatever the heck I wanted, I just needed to GO for it. I went straight for my dream and would never need to run through “what-if” scenarios again.
Slowly I started turning down paid jobs, and started doing a lot more personal work. Like a true brat, I had found what I wanted from the situation and suddenly missed just shooting for the fun of it. I lived out one dream and was finally ready to move on to another.
About four months ago, I was offered an amazing position and gained the chance to start an entirely new dream. While I’m no longer shooting professionally, I spend my weekdays in a studio full of unbelievably talented people, and save my weekends for shooting personal projects. A brand new, exciting dream for me to chase. Will I feel the same way one or two years from now? Who could ever know? Just make the most of your opportunities and always give 100% effort. The only thing worse than not having a dream is not properly pursuing the ones you have!
Not everyone has just ONE dream, please don’t put yourself in that box. If you spend time on one dream and want to start another, do it. Life is meant for change and you’ve been blessed with the time to change direction as often as you’d like. Live with no regrets and chase as many dreams as possible.
You can follow Jasmine on Instagram @jasmineleeviray!