Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? No? Me neither.
There is so much pressure on kids today to begin carving the path that will shape the rest of their lives before they even finish learning about who they are. Teens today are expected to know what their career choice will be, and what college they want to go all before they learn about the world outside of their home. That’s not to say that some kids don’t already know- and are completely driven by that goal (A mentality that I envy), but the majority of them – I think – feel a little lost in the sea of choices.
Maybe I’m just speaking from my personal experience, but I can tell you that when I was 17 years old, the only thing I was sure about was that I was tired of waking up at 5:30- 6:00 am to get to school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, heck, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my week.
I spent my late teens and early 20’s getting to know myself. I floated between jobs without any real commitment to any of them. I spent most of the time with friends, going to concerts, and staying out late – like many older adolescents do. All the while, STILL not knowing what career choice was going to spark a fire in me.
It seemed like I had no direction, no real goals. I was working in restaurants and bars- which was fun, but as time went on- it was getting old.
Photography just seemed to fall into my lap. I got married, had my first daughter, bought my first dslr, and did my first family photo session. Very amateur. But isn’t that how everyone starts?
I began by taking some online courses, applying the knowledge, watching YouTube videos, practicing, and practicing some more. Oh, did I mention that I was practicing? All the while, I was still pulling late nights at the bar, a career that wasn’t going to be sustainable for me as a mom with an early riser.
Eventually, I did my very first newborn session, and felt like there was no way I would ever be able to get them into the cute poses and props that we see all over Pinterest. It was hard-but that day, I felt a fire ignite. I knew this game was going to be a challenge – usually something that I would steer clear of – but this time it was different. I wanted to do this. I wanted to be great at it. Although my first, second, third and so on newborn sessions were far from perfect, I was still creating memorable and sweet images of babies for their families.
Fast forward a few years…
I have bounced back from the pandemic as a business owner. I’ve opened up my own shared studio filled to the brim with the most beautiful and high quality props. I am so pleased with my work, and I am always learning and growing. I have been able to leave my restaurant jobs to dive headfirst into a career that fulfills my soul and provides for my family. I don’t have to answer to arbitrary rules created by the higher ups. I am my own higher up, and it is a constant challenge to maintain-but the most rewarding feeling comes from that as well. Do I still get into arguments with the boss, yes- yes I do. I will be honest with you, I have spent many late nights away from family, shed many tears, and foregone many social invites to get to this place-but we all have to make these sacrifices sometimes, and I’m just thrilled to be able to love the job that I’m making these sacrifices for.
I am so proud of myself, and it feels amazing to say that! I have made leaps and bounds from the angsty adolescent that I once was. Is it all sunshine and rainbows? Certainly not. I still struggle with frequent feelings of uncertainty, self doubt, imposter syndrome, and other countless negative thoughts. There are days that I would prefer to just pull the covers back over my head. Why? Because I’m a human being.
Kids, please know that it’s alright to have no direction right now. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever stumble onto the right path for you.
Parents, be patient with your kids. Encourage and feed their interests and strengths.