In 2018, I found myself sitting in my room in the barracks on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Maryland scrolling through my Instagram feed. It was Spring and the all of the flower blooming including the very beautiful cherry blossoms. D.C. is known for having the most beautifully pink cherry blossoms each spring and celebrates by throwing a cherry blossom festival. It was a Saturday morning and I was putting on my uniform and lacing up my boots, preparing for a twelve-hour shift when these pictures caught my eye. My friends were out enjoying the cherry blossoms and all that the Spring of D.C. had to offer, and I was preparing to drive to an office, knowing that the only time I would see the sun that day would be during that short twenty-minute drive.
I glared at my Instagram byline. Photographer. It had been months since I had taken pictures; years since I had a serious event or photoshoot. I convinced myself that photography was a poor man's profession that I couldn't support myself or my family with. So, I turned to the military, finished lacing up my boots, put on my cover, and exited the barracks into the beautiful Spring.
Hours droned by as I found myself thinking I'm literally doing the thing I said I would never do. I was sitting down writing reports and analyzing data for meager pay and affordable healthcare. It was boring. To me, it was meaningless. It had no life whatsoever. I felt purposeless and drained of energy. There was no passion as the hours lulled on.
This went on for months until I woke up and realized this is the next 20+ years of my life. This is it. Going to work that is purposeless to earn a paycheck I can't manage and being away from family. Constantly uprooting my life to go to the next duty station or the next deployment all for healthcare and a retirement check. Twenty years and missing some of the most important events in my family traded for a pension and the ability to opt into affordable healthcare. Why did that have to be my life? Why can't I do the things I enjoy doing with the people that matter most to me? Why can't I work in my passion?
The Time is Now
In 2019, I made the promise to myself that I would go to work for myself. Sure, I'm still in the military, but I work for me. I've developed my passion and am working on designing the world I choose to live in. Why? Because life is too short to spend time waiting on the future to come. Photography has always been my passion since I was in grade school and my mom got me my first digital camera. I've always enjoyed creating memories and preserving them with the people around me.