In general I am the type of person that very much lives in the present. I do not hold grudges, I don't dwell on things in the past, and looking towards the future is a frame of mind that I relish and enjoy. But occasionally in quite moments my mind will wander to the past. Just a few minutes ago I was in the car while Will was driving so that we could get Sloane to sleep (yeah, she's almost 4 and naps daily...often car naps) and I was thinking about our trip to Europe that we leave for in 8 days. Earlier today I was emailing back and forth with a wedding client who's engagement session I'm going to shoot while we are in Rome. I'm crazy excited of course, but then my mind came to a screeching halt.
Shooting my second client in Italy?!
What life is this?
How did I get here?
Do you remember the first time you booked your largest wedding package right after having your work torn to shreds on a photography forum? When your 12 hour wedding package was $1450? (Hi, Mindy and Tommy!)
Do you remember the first time a client drove more than an hour to have a shoot with you? (Hi, Hansen family!)
Do you remember getting that email from Professional Photographer Magazine in 2011 saying they wanted to do a 3 page article on you and you legitimately thought it was a joke and almost didn't reply?
All of a sudden those memories came flooding back and my perspective swung and did a 180. I AM SHOOTING IN ITALY...AGAIN?! Holy shit. My level of appreciation and thankfulness just increased 10-fold. I am so thankful for where I am now and how long it's taken me to get here. I am thankful for every single person who has helped me along the way, from early clients to current clients, from random strangers online who say nice things about my work to my close family and friends who have always supported me even when this might have initially seemed like just a hobby. I am thankful that somehow, someway I was able to turn my love of creation and art into a legitimate career. My senior year of high school I had a dream of going to the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. I got their information packet and VHS (ha! #old), but dismissed it because it was too expensive and didn't seem like the best way into a lucrative career.
I didn't get here directly and I stumbled. Boy, did I stumble. I can tell you for a fact that even in my wildest dreams did I not see myself here. I could not dream that big, but I did dream small. I found that by dreaming small I was able to put one foot in front of the other and reach milestone after milestone. Small steps forward, slow, but constant.
And now when I look back I am able to see just how far I've come.