When I was a boy, I was encouraged to get a good education. It was expected that my parents' kids would go to college and graduate school. I was told that I could do anything I wanted with my life, but a professional degree would always be a safety net. No matter what I did, I could always fall back on a traditional profession if things went bad.
So I went to college and law school. I practiced law, and then I went into management. I've done pretty well in my career, but it's not my real love. I have a hobby that I love pursuing. Unlike many hobbies, this is one of which many people have made careers.
Yes, if you know me, you know that I mean photography.
Just taking the camera with my as we ran errands today made me happier. Even taking a photo of myself in a grimy side mirror perked me up.
The problem is that I have a standard of living to which I'm accustomed. A big chunk of that involves a mortgage that needs to be paid every month. I might be willing to make some sacrifices to pursue a new career, but I don't want to sacrifice the roof over my head!
If I were to quit my job, go to school for a degree in photography and look for work, it could be many years (if ever) before I returned to this level of earnings. Yes, something less would be fine, but things could get pretty ugly before I reached a decent standard of living.
I've always said that photography would be my semi-retirement job. I'd content myself with enjoying it in my off hours, but a real commitment to my art would have to wait. Recently, I've been feeling like it's wrong to put it off. If I'd had a less conventional upbringing, I might have enrolled at a school of fine arts and studied my craft, but I didn't. Don't get me wrong--I don't fault my parents at all. If I had said I wanted to take that route, they'd have supported me, I'm sure. It's just that I didn't even consider that route in my early years. It never really occurred to me.
I guess there are plenty of people far worse off. Still, to be a magazine photographer or a travel writer/photographer (even better, I could shoot photos, and Marc could write the text) or even one of the guys who shoots photos for all sorts of industries... you know, the glossy shots you see in companies' annual reports? To be with National Geographic or Life magazine (is Life still publishing?), or to be in any number of other roles where I could put my skills to use. Now, that would be a great life!
I just hope I can make the most of my skills before the sunset of my life!