Why I chose to give up the 4 year college dream to work for myself

Why I chose to give up the 4 year college dream to work for myself Journal  photographer blog inspiration having faith freelance inspiration freelance blog female bloggers artist blogger artist blog

There is a typical American dream. Graduate high school, choose a college, meet a spouse in college, then graduate college and marry spouse. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that dream.  It’s quite the happy, sweet dream that I have noticed works well for so many people. Their hearts are filled with joy. I should want that dream.

I guess I just never did.

I felt the pull of that dream for sure. There was the pressure from parents to go to college to get that desk job. Have that stable, happy paycheck. But from the age of 17, I was so against going with the norm that I was already choosing my own logo design company as my way of income rather than working at the local Blockbuster (remember those?). There was so much freedom in the house of working and creating for clients. While I was working sometimes 10 hours a day for not much pay, I felt fulfilled. I was making pretty things to help others succeed.

Society pulled on me a bit too much and I finally gave into the 9-5 job. It was consistent, good money as a graphic designer. My rent was always paid. My car payment was made. I always had weekends off to go get drunk and party with my friends. It was honkey dory. Then I started looking into getting into college. In the meantime, I took pretty photos of people for fun.

“Photography and art are just a hobby”, I told myself.

Be Realistic.

This is where the Universe came in and forced me to follow my inner desire to create art for a living.

You see, I was fired from that safe, 9-5 job. To this day I must admit I didn’t deserve to let go. I went above and beyond at that job and even dealt with a lot of sexual harassment.  The manager who took care of all the hiring was a very unhappy woman that fired all other women at the place of business within 6 months. So it was only by luck and the rest of the staff loving me I even kept that job for as long as I did.

If I am being honest, It wasn’t a perfect, positive transition from 9-5 consistent land to Freelance artist. It was a rather rough transition. Do I follow the path and go to college? Do I find another 9-5 and hope that they don’t fire me as well for no reason?  Rather than looking for the answers within myself, I decided the best course of action was to try to find those answers at the bottom of a shot glass at the local watering hole for a good few months. In case you are wondering, this is not the right way to go about finding your happiness.

One day in my pointless job search, I realized I don’t even care that much for graphic design. Photography was my heart and soul. It’s was made my heart race in anticipation. It was something that at the end of the day I was excited for the next day of art to be created. I had photographed my close friend’s wedding for fun a few months before and upon looking through the photographs, I realized that it was a really great experience.

It was scary, but I put it out there that I was going to be a freelance, self employed wedding photographer. I was going to tell stories with my camera. I was going to make people feel beautiful.

I mean, I had no fucking idea what the hell I was doing but I was going to dive in face first and see what happened. I let fear go for the first time in my life and told myself I was capable of this.  I was capable of working the hours that would give me the freedom to live a life of creation and adventure. I was going to do a job that was rewarding, even though while my friends were out partying, meeting boyfriends, having kids and getting married… I was working 12 hour days.


Because a lot of people had died in my life.

Ok, sorry that was a bit morbid.

But really, I spent my life watching those I loved hustling for work. Hustling to make the all mighty dollar. They did the time in school, the army, whatever it was that was their training to put them in a job that would give them security. These people spent so many years doing this, they didn’t get any satisfaction out of life. They died young. These dreams of love and adventure turned to dust with them.

Fuck that. It wasn’t happening to me. My days were going to be led by what I wanted. I was going to take that trip on a day I needed an off day. I was going to spent my days working for that almighty dollar doing something that fed my soul.  Not only was I feeding my own soul, but I saw the incredible effect that I had on other people. My clients looked at their photos and they truly meant something. My kindness meant something. My ability to take their fear of their photograph being taken away meant something.   I was creating art out of their stories.

Yes, at times I wish I had taken the college route with the stable job. But I am happy that I never let fear take me away from what my soul really wanted. It wanted to be free. It wanted to do whatever the fuck it wanted when it wanted. It wanted to spend it’s days creating and inspiring.  And well, there just isn’t a college course for that.

Sure people think I just sit at home and my schedules are free. Sure people judge me on the fact that most days I am wearing yoga pants with my hair in a bun. Yes, people constantly say “must be nice” when I am able to take week long trips because I feel like it.  Nope, I didn’t meet the amazing love of my life in college and I don’t have 1.5 kids right now with my white picket fence.

That is totally ok though. 

Because just like the line of work I chose, it may be hard but it’s worth it. It may be different than what most other people choose, but it fits me. And whatever lovers, events, and opportunities are coming my way thanks to this path I chose, I know it’s going to be perfect to fill me up with happiness.


Follow your heart, always. It may take awhile, but you will always see it was the right choice.


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