A few years ago, I embarked on a late-life career change. Or perhaps, more precisely, I re-invented myself at the age of 60.
I longed to move out of a computer career into something more interesting and flexible. I had a passing interest in photography at the time but had no idea where it could take me. I found Great Escape Publishing and began laying the bedrock of what would become a full-time passion – and a rewarding career.
When I started, I didn’t have a solid “Plan B,” but I worked hard and learned everything I needed to know about photography. Along the way, I learned some very significant and unexpected life lessons…
Break the rules and see the world anew
My computer career had taught me to be a particular and precise person. Things were either black or white to me.
But then photography came along and I found myself forced to look at things in a completely foreign manner.
I learned that “rules” like those on composition and exposure could be broken. I figured out how to take photographs that looked great—without having a set of hard and fast rules to define what “great” actually was.
Now, I look at the world entirely anew. My days are filled with wonder that I never experienced before as I look at colors, nature, the sun, and everything around me. I can’t believe I spent 60 years looking at so many things without actually seeing them.
People are fascinating
While I certainly spent a lot of time on the phone with clients in my computer days, most of my tech career was spent staring at a screen.
As I started to grow my photography business, I found myself gravitating toward portraiture. I realized that not only did I love taking people’s photos, but I really enjoyed the personal interaction with clients as we worked at getting a photo that they absolutely love.
They say everyone has a story, and learning my clients’ stories became a fascinating part of my job. By getting to know someone, I could take a photo that their friends would look at and immediately say that I had truly captured that person’s spirit.
I now have a much greater appreciation for the lives of people around me. Who knew there were so many fascinating people out there? I’m grateful everyday that my life now includes them.
Assess what truly makes you happy
As I closed down my computer business and took photos of pretty much everything that moved, I discovered a lot of things in my life that were not contributing to my happiness.
As I removed them, I learned to become much more selective about all aspects of my life.
Key to this was that I started to take photos of things I wanted to shoot, and I turned down things I wasn’t really interested in. When I took this attitude with most things in my life I was astounded by the change. Simply put, if it isn’t fun, then I don’t bother doing it. I pick my battles much more carefully, I smile a lot, and I’m honestly enjoying life much more than ever before.
When I started this photography journey seven years ago, little did I know that it would be life-changing. I’m now an artist with dramatically heightened senses, I’m incredibly excited and inspired by my vastly expanded social network, and I wake up daily with a huge smile on my face. All thanks to picking up my camera, learning to use it, plunging forward to turn it into a business, and now working with people I love to surround myself with. I couldn’t be happier.