I was sitting at my bland desk in a “modern,” but still cold office space. It was 9PM, I’d been working for 12 hours straight wrangling clients, reporters and projects at my technology PR job on Valentine’s Day.
My vision was blurry with tears as I become more and more frustrated with what my life had become. All I wanted to do was go home, drink wine, watch sappy romantic movies and FaceTime my long-distance boyfriend. But instead I was stuck at the office, alone. This wasn’t the first time, either. Not to mention the stacks of memory cards just waiting to be edited for my clients, the blogs that needed to be written, the timelines that need to be made.
I found myself constantly saying “no” to invitation after invitation because I was consumed with work. Consumed with “busy,” consumed with being everything to everyone.
I was under water and drowning fast.
As much as I loved my company and the people I worked with, I was running myself ragged with working both full time in PR and photography. It wasn’t a new thing to me – I’d been doing it for years in the name of “hustle.”
“There’s plenty of time to live a real life,” I told myself. “It’s important to hustle while you’re young to set yourself up for success later.”
I have to laugh at myself now because of the lies I told myself over and over. Perhaps it was being the daughter of incredibly hard-working parents, or being the overly-ambitious, eager-to-please girl in a cut-throat major in college, but I’d put myself in the position of burnout.
What they’ve always said is true: You can’t be everything to everyone. You can only burn the candle from both ends for so long.
I took a long hard look at what made me come alive and it took exactly .025 seconds for me to conclude that wedding photography was my path to a happier, more fulfilling future.
I loved everything about wedding photography:
I love that I got to use my event planning chops to serve my clients.
I love getting to see people on their best day, living their best life, surrounded by people who loved them dearly.
I love becoming pals with my couples and hearing who they are and what’s important to them.
I love the craft of photography and that no matter how long I’d been doing it (9 years at that point), there was always more to learn.
I love the feeling of new lenses in my hand and gently feeling the ridges of a new focus ring beneath my fingertips.
I love the staring my couple’s wedding photos weeks after I’ve delivered them.
It just made sense.
I had spent so much time committed to PR because I’ve spent years studying it, getting internships, battling it out in entry-level jobs that I realized at the end of the day being a senior vice president 10 years from now would leave me empty and unfulfilled.
It was that Valentine’s Day that I realized: something has got to give.
I took the plunge and gave myself to photography full time, and it gave its self right back to me.
My time as a full time wedding photographer has allowed me more headspace to dedicate to my clients, more heart to put into their wedding days and more creativity to continue to grow and learn. In the time since I’ve gone full time in my business, I’ve been able to make more space than ever to the people around me – including the love of my life, Nikhil. Now look at us: splitting our time between California and Texas, getting evenings to cuddle on the couch, scheduling time to visit family across the country — all of it because I made space for what’s important and realizing that it’s possible to hustle yourself in the group.
It hasn’t been perfect and I’ve learned my fair share of lessons, some of them harder than others, but I couldn’t be more grateful for this journey.
What makes you come alive? What are you doing in your life that is holding you back? Shoot me a note and let’s chat about it – I’m all ears. I’d love to cheer you on!