I was on a mission.
I'd been tasked with providing photos for an upcoming campaign. They needed them straight away and I agreed straight away.
Seconds later, I backed up, realizing they wanted me, not my nonprofit, to be featured.
It's been a long time since I've done anything for myself, thought about my personal goals, or even done creative work for my own platforms (as some may have noticed over the past...ahem... two years? on this particular platform).
I was running absolutely hungry and drained. But I didn't know it.
It wasn't until I walked away from a job a little over a week ago that the realization crashed:
Holy heck, girl—what have you been doing with your time?
I had nothing in my mind to really answer that, other than harried hours spent over a keyboard and a blur of social media accounts and podcasts and emails...
Are those are the memories I'll pass on to my nephews and nieces?
Every day was spent hoping I'd save up enough time to go see those sweet little faces. Every. Single. Day. Every day was spent hoping I'd work up to the point where I'd finally earned a way to start adventuring—truly—again. Every. Single. Day.
730+ days later, I was still hoping.
Man, forget that.
I'm looking forward to signing up for online classes for my own edification again. Listening to podcasts about varied interests I have, not just social media and content writing for everyone else. Put my feet on dirt and rock instead of cold tile floors. And making my way back to see my little buddies more often.
This feature request came at the right time, a kind of confirmation that leaving a job was just the ticket, no matter how unsure the future was without it.
There have been lots of little things popping up since I made that decision. They're pushing me out the door, into altitude or into getting together with friends. But most importantly, those little things have been pushing me to think for myself and without deadlines. I look at them like mini-manifestations that my perspective was lopsided but the heavens are doing their darndest to balance things back out.
Back outdoors, I found myself handing over my camera to someone else, looking at views without the filter of a frame, and huffing my way up a ridge accompanied by friends and conversation (albeit, broken by my need to suck in air). I still had a hard time letting go of complete control of my camera, but that'll come in time. Or it might not. What I want to learn is: Do I photograph moments out of love or out of the hope of a paycheck? Do I write for love of expression or for the hope I might get picked up in another article? (And are these things mutually exclusive for me, anyway?)
The mission wasn't just to get photos for this feature. More deeply, it's to learn who I am in the midst of creative endeavors and turn the attention inward and make sense of what's ahead on this path.