I was about six. I didn’t know how to swim. My tee-ball team finished the season, and we had a party at the local YMCA. For some reason, I jumped off the diving board and into the deep end of the pool.
It took a moment for anyone to notice.
My head went underwater. I bobbed back up and there was my coach. Back down. Back up. There was my coach again, frantically waving for the lifeguard.
My coach didn’t know how to swim, either.
Starting to sink again, I felt someone grab me. It was the lifeguard. I was saved! Time passed slowly- or too quickly. I have no real idea how long that moment lasted, but it was over and I would be okay.
This is the second time I’ve worked for myself. The first time wasn’t all that great. There were moments, but I was in bad shape overall. I was young. Nervous. Naive. I did good work, but I was bad with money. I still smoked, and that was expensive. I made a lot of stupid mistakes.
Celebrating two years of self employment has always been a major goal. It’s a big deal to me. I didn’t make it past a year on my last attempt. I’ve more than doubled that now.
It’s not been mistake free, and it’s not been easy. Some of the past few months have been the most challenging months I’ve faced during this adventure. At times I’ve thought about packing it in and getting a full-time job.
It’s hard to give up that control. And the freedom. I love the chaos of my schedule.
Two days ago, I shot a horse event outside the city. I was up and getting ready by 4:30 a.m. and it was a little after 5 p.m. before I got home.
Two days before that, I photographed a small networking event within an hour’s notice.
My schedule isn’t always that crazy. There are days on end when I’m at home working in Photoshop, while I listen to various podcasts and hang out with the intern. Nothing is routine for that long. It all changes.
In between both attempts of self employment there were two jobs that taught me a lot about web design and development, as well as life-who I am , who I want to be, and who I didn’t want to be as a person.
I grew a lot, but also grew tired of the same schedule every day. It was time to take another jump.
I attended a networking breakfast the other day; I recently joined the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. Someone there asked me, “What is it about your job that you love?”
My camera is a passport. It opens up worlds to me that I know nothing about. I get access to things that I find exciting and interesting. I meet new people and make new friends. Some friends last only a day while others become much closer.
Projects ebb and flow, money can be good and money can be tight. Though that’s not the only currency I use. Time-I have a lot of that if I plan correctly.
I was with my sister and our family for two weeks when my niece was born. Shortly after my niece, Monroe, entered the world, I was there. With Monroe, her mom, her dad, and my mom. And my camera.
There’s a photo of me, camera slung around my body, tears in my eyes, holding my niece for the first time. I held her. I cried. I thought of my dad who passed away 15 years prior. When it was time for someone else to hold her, I was a photographer again.
Some of my favorite photos ever are from that day and the following days. They are moments that mean so much to us and to me. Moments that will be saved for as long as possible.
I’ve photographed weddings for friends. Personal moments that mean a lot to them and to me. I’ve photographed random things, like protests and a duck derby with balloon sculptures. I’ve learned a lot watching actors pour their hearts out on stage about real and imaginary events.
I’ve grown these past two years. I’ve improved a lot. At times I feel like I’m drowning, not knowing how to swim. Sometimes I feel like I need to be saved, or should at least save myself and do something else with my life.
What keeps me going is that I don’t know what is going to happen next. I don’t know who I’ll meet, and I don’t know what I’ll photograph. That keeps me moving forward…
The possibility of what comes next.