This post was sponsored by Astellas as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
I think it’s because I’ve seen my own parents rediscover passions, and pursue them. This includes travel, career, and personal dreams and passions. When you see your own parents rediscover old-rooted passions and hobbies, and then pursue them into lifestyles or careers, I think you have no choice but to follow suit! For me, it’s always been photography, and learning where I wanted to go with that. In fact, I’m still learning and I think I always will be perpetually discovering.
I figured out I wanted to be a photographer when I was on the school bus. I was in 6th grade, huddled against the cool window pane as the bus went up the winding mountain road. I was a mountain kid. We got the BEST snow and we were safe from flooding, but the school and pretty much anywhere else we wanted to go was in the valley. Down a winding mountain road. My neighbor’s stop was coming up and he was standing in the aisle, facing the back of the bus. The sun was peeking through the window and lighting his blond eyelashes. I thought I had never seen something so beautiful. I thought, “I could write about this moment but is that enough to take with me? Is that enough to show other people what I saw?” It wasn’t.
When my parents first placed a neon pink Vivitar LA Brites camera in my outstretched hands at age seven, my photography fever began, and never ended. I amassed quite a collection of odds and ends, cameras and films. I even “borrowed” my older sister’s neon yellow Vivitar LA Brites camera to see if it took the same pictures as my pink one. (It did) My collection grew over the years, as well as my knowledge of photography. I had a giant Polaroid camera, a mini Polaroid i-Zone camera, several small point-and-shoots, my father’s old Retina and my grandfather’s old video camera. I needed to see how they all saw the world – or how I saw the world through them. Then, I studied darkroom photography in high school and in college.
My years of camera and film accumulation and photography experience brought forth a passion to capture joy, strength, character, sadness and more – humanity and spirit at its most descriptive, raw and real. It was all a big dream for so long.
I remember my apprenticeship after college, and how nervous I was before my first professional shoot. In fact, I still get nervous and I realize it’s a part of who I am and always will be. It’s because I care. I always thought I’d do something else with my life – and I’ve found myself waffling a lot in life. I remember the day I talked to a career coach who said there was really only one answer, and I should stop looking for jobs that include working for other people. She’s right! I was born to be a writer and photographer. I started my business with a three-month-old and a toddler. I did head shots for a local author with baby Des strapped to my stomach. Her point of view must have been hilarious. All I could see at the time was mine:
And now it’s a dream come true, which never feels like you think it will feel. It’s complex and layered. It’s achy – physically and emotionally. It’s a lot of give without as much take, at least in the beginning. It’s a gift to be able to dream, though.
For years now, I have watched “Dancing with the Stars.” This show aligns deeply with my values, and since my sisters have a heavy dance background, I have vicariously lived that life. I have my own dreams, but I have always dreamed of being able to dance and soar. I love the dancers’ individual stories. It proves that it’s never easy to pursue your passions. Often, we are fighting against both internal and external obstacles. It’s a wonder that so many of these dancers achieve their dreams to dance in front of so many people, and then keep moving forward. Life often gets in the way of our true passions.
For some people, like on “Dancing with the Stars,” that’s dancing. And yet, it’s different things for different people. Right now, there’s a “Keep on Dancing” Sweepstakes – sponsored by Myrbetriq® (mirabegron) – and it’s a reminder to never give up on the things you love. You can rediscover your passion and enter for a chance to win a trip to a 2018 taping of “Dancing with the Stars.” There you will see these amazing people pursue their passions, and think about your own.