Lately I’ve been following the blog of Katelyn James, an uber talented photographer in Virginia, and I have to admit that as much as I love her work and the personality she shares through her stories, I’ve been blaming myself for not following a similar path. You see, Katelyn is fresh out of college with a successful photography business, living her dream. The day she graduated she officially became a full-time photographer and business owner because all through college she had been working as a photographer and building her venture, little by little.
When I was in high school, the father of a friend used to tell me that if I ever wanted to start a photography studio, he would invest the money to get me going…that’s how much he believed in my talent. I always laughed and shrugged it off, because the concept was never real to me (I had never even conceived that I could run my own business) and I didn’t have the confidence to believe that I really had that much talent. But as you can tell, I never forgot it either.
When I went to college, I put aside my far-fetched daydreams and decided to focus on the responsible path…you know, the major that would realistically get me a job when I graduated. Essentially I put aside my camera and my naivete and forgot about the investment offer back home. Instead, I spent my time studying what I believed would make others proud and working my tail off waiting tables just to keep my head above water. It was a job that I hated, and I was miserable. I didn’t see it then, but my creativity was completely drained and I was far, far away from the girl I’d always known myself to be. It would be a long time before I would realize what was missing in my life.
So when I read about Katelyn and the confidence she had to do something she loved and was smart enough to know she didn’t have to wait, I just want to kick myself and I wonder why on Earth did I not spend my time doing that. Why didn’t I think to photograph for a living when I was in college? Why did I spend my time doing something I hated, making barely enough to get by? Why did I think that I had to graduate before I could do what I wanted? It never even crossed my mind! I was saddened by all the time I felt I had wasted by being distracted.
The book of Ecclesiastes says that “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.” I realize now that college just wasn’t my time. They say it’s supposed to be the best time of your life, and yes, I am thankful for the experience and the memories, but I am even more thankful that my best days are still on the horizon. What matters is not the time that I can’t get back anymore, it’s not the time I spent missing this important thing in my life. What matters is that I found it, because not everyone does.
Katelyn, thank you for being such an inspiration at such a young age. We’ve never met, but I’m a huge fan of your work and you’ve helped me to learn a very important lesson about comparing myself to others. I know one day I will understand the timing of it all, but for now I am blessed to know that I have rediscovered my passion, because I have been looking for it for such a long time.