my first job was a receptionist at a tiny little flower shop.
my second job was selling fart bombs + zippo lighters at novelty shop in the mall.
then I worked behind the scenes at a digital photography studio when digital photography was THE NEXT BIG THING.
the first job that I considered to be “career potential” was at a law firm. I started from the actual bottom, the mail lady, to being a manager of compliance + audits for some of our biggest clients.
now when people ask what I do, I giggle a little. I don’t really have a “title” to share with anyone other than what I’ve made-up for myself which is: an optimism engineer + modern day hippie. tomorrow that may change, and I presume that it’ll differ yet again in another year from now, but for now, that is what I proudly proclaim to anyone who asks.
growing up, the only thing I knew was that I needed to find a career + build my skill set to climb the latter in said career, hopefully making more money after time + lots of hard work/sacrifices, and those things would eventually earn me enough to retire AND THEN enjoy life. work hard to be able to relax….someday.
I was 33.9 years old when I learned that that was the biggest lie I have ever been told.
you might be thinking…damn Andi. that’s a strong statement. and you’re right, it is. but RIGHT NOW in my life, I feel like I’ve finally been given permission to pursue PASSION instead of A TITLE. titles are bullshit in my eyes. they are a means to an end. instead, I want my title to reflect passion + drive – being fluid + flexible as my “jobs” change + advance.
when I graduated HS, there was an immense pressure to pick something + stick to it. spend THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS you don’t yet have, to learn a skill you HOPE/HEAR/BELIEVE to be able to earn you enough to pay off that debt, then also afford things like food + a vehicle to drive to said job, and a home to collapse into upon putting in your daily shift. I remember feeling like that was TOTALLY wrong – yet my 18 years of life didn’t qualify me to speak out against the status quo + dream bigger. in fact, I didn’t have the CAPACITY to dream bigger – the people before me only knew this way, too.
today I have found passion in so many things, but there is ONE DRIVING FORCE behind every single thing I do. that force is INFLUENCING other humans in a positive light. I want to break molds, I want to learn everything I can about why we humans do what we do, internalize those things + reasons + ideas, chew them up in my brain and spit them out to you. it might be about health, it might be about wellness, it might be about mindset, shit, it might be about plants + naked cats + old drooly dogs + vintage home decor. what’s great about FINDING a passion and pursuing it aggressively is that there is NO LIMIT as to WHAT or HOW. my WHY is enough to bounce me from this to that to another + have genuine happiness while at it.
at the flower shop, I LOVED making people smile. helping them make OTHERS smile through a beautiful flower arrangement made me light up inside.
the novelty shop, called ‘the fun shop’ was exactly that – FUN. who can’t enjoy themselves when teaching others about stink bombs + fake blood? it’s when I FIRST KNEW I loved to make people laugh.
photography was and STILL IS a part of my life – I get to capture moments in time that families will carry with them for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. that’s huge. I still get emotional when I think about what a beautiful impact a photograph can have on us as humans.
my law firm career was strengthened because my role for a big part of it was to encourage others to know that it’s going to be okay. there are good humans in the world that genuinely care about the wellbeing of others, and I made it my priority to make my job positive through that outlook. (the firm was a residential foreclosure law firm, so the job itself WAS NOT POSITIVE at first glance. I had to bring positivity to not lose my mind.)
what exactly is my point today? let me explain.
I want everyone I come in contact with to understand that it’s okay to go against the grain. it’s okay to think + feel + act differently than the majority. as long as you’re a) not hurting anyone and b) not hurting yourself, what you are feeling deep down inside is WHAT YOU ARE MEANT TO FEEL. take a second to think about what it is you LOVE about your life path. perhaps it’s a job, or perhaps you’ve settled on a career. if you genuinely feel that you are doing good to humankind somehow, some way, then you are on the right path. if you feel stuck in what you’re doing or where you’re at – perhaps it’s time to really think about what it is that drives you. what actions do you take in life that bring about BIG emotions? find ways to get more of that into your life – and the right things, opportunities, and people will make their way into your life because of it.
life is a weird journey + none of us actually know what we’re doing, so remember that the next time you compare your life with someone else’s. we’re all winging it – you’re doing it wrong if you’re not having fun along the way.