So I recently saw an article that said “Your Dream Job vs. Your Day Job” and was all about how to strive for your dreams while working a full time job to support your dream. A great article, but it got me thinking.
What if my “day job” isn’t just a day job? What if my day job is also my dream job? Does this mean that photography can’t also be a dream job? Am I limited to how many dreams and passions I work toward and pursue?
Here’s a little background about me… I love life. This sounds cheesy so let me explain. I love the idea that we all have souls and passions and make choices and can explore. I love that we create our days and how we spend them. Every day at school someone on the announcements says “Make it a great day, or not. The choice is yours” and I LOVE this. We have choices. Growing up I was so blessed with the ability to pursue passions and explore my choices in life. It was around the same age that I picked up a camera and decided I wanted to be a teacher. They both called to my heart and for awhile I put photography on a shelf as a hobby because I thought, I can’t do both, I am going to be a teacher, not a photographer.
Well I’m here to tell you, that I want both.
I love teaching, love it, really really really cheesily love it (and since I am a science teacher I can get away with using words like cheesily that aren’t spelled right and don’t exist). I knew when I was 16 years old that I was going to go to College to become a teacher because I loved the feeling of helping younger kids. So here I am, 4 years into teaching and every day that I come to school I get excited about seeing my kids. Talking to them, listening to them, working with them and learning from them. Is it perfect? Heck no. Is it pretty? Not usually. Is it stuff that people want to read about on social media? Well if “YES student _______ got a B on this test and worked so hard!!” or “lunch duty was a killer today”.. then yeah! but let’s be real… probably not. Do I get tired and worn out and wonder if it’s worth it? Absolutely, but the reality is, I love this job and it’s not just my day job, it’s my dream job… my first dream.
So how does this tie into photography and the “Alexandra Michelle Photography Blog”? Well, if you like my images and you’d like me as your photographer you should know that I’m more than just a girl with a nice camera. I’m a dreamer. I’m a “not gonna settle for just one passion when I have lots” kind of girl. I’m also a “if I love it I’m not going to give up on it”, kind of girl. I am a teacher, and I’m also a girl with a small business who dreams of taking gorgeous images for families who love life the way I do. I love photography in the same way I love teaching. I plan and then I get to shoots and meet the families involved and we try things, I take pictures and many times they turn out really well. Are there images that I delete because they didn’t turn out? Yup. Are there lessons that I delete because they didn’t turn out? Yup. It’s another avenue to interact with people, learn about them and capture their best selves. Teaching is the same, it’s part content and part working habits but it’s also trying to get kids to do their best, whatever that may be.
I decided a year ago I wanted to chase this dream and I had people who asked, so are you going to quit teaching? I didn’t know what to say because I felt weird. I didn’t want to give up teaching. But I also didn’t want to fail at this either. I felt shameful that I had two dreams, selfish almost like I wasn’t supposed to have both as if I couldn’t do them both well. Well, I don’t think I should have to give up on either dream. I don’t want to just work a full time job, I want to love my full time job. I can’t let myself live life void of passion. So I’m here, a year later, trying. I have two big dreams and I’m trying to do them. I have one that is full time and one that is just a little small business that I love and am excited about the long term potential for.
Maybe this blog post comes off braggy (if that’s a word) and I really don’t mean it to. I don’t want anyone reading this to sit there and say “well gee, must be nice that you love your job so much”. I’m here trying to say, if you want something, you should try for it. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our dreams, we should try! If your day job is just a day job then don’t give up on your out of work passions. We should choose to explore joy in being alive, to live passionately and not settle. Easier said then done but someone once said to me “It should be a little scary, that means you care and that it’s worth it”. For me, a year ago, it was easier to keep photography on that shelf. It meant I didn’t have to put myself out there, fail publicly. But it also meant I was suppressing a dream and then the fear switched and I became a afraid of the regret of never trying.
So after a very long blog post, that you’re probably not reading any longer, I’m here to encourage you to live your passions. Make life important to you, dive into your dreams and try. I am a teacher and a small business owner, but ultimately, I’m a dreamer who is passionate about life and I won’t give up on either of my dreams or any of the future ones to come.