My mother once said to me,
If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much room!
But living life on the edge is scary. It pushes you outside of your comfort zone. It challenges you in ways you’ve never been challenged before. It makes fear pulse through your veins.
But I say feel the fear, and do it anyway!
For the past two months, over this chilly, windy, rainy summer, as my brain has recuperated from a year of reading law cases about stolen logs, I worked as a fundraiser for UNICEF. This was a hard, scary, fun and invigorating job – but at the end of the day I was waking up exhausted and going to bed in a slump. Fundraising was taking its toll on my body and mind (trumps to my team members who continue fundraising to this day – strong, inspiring people, that they are).
So I stopped fundraising. My first step to the edge. I realised it was silly to waste precious time not doing something I loved. If something is making you unhappy – you have to either change it (or add chocolate). Since I couldn’t spend the whole day snacking on some dark chocolate or carrying round an ice cream, I decided to make a change.
And I’ve already felt the fear.
There’s been pressure and stress – of paying bills and rent and also of finally having enough time to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do.
You see, I may study Law, but I have a passion for creating! Writing words that soothe the soul, doodling doodles that make my friends laugh silly, attempting to make fields of flowers with only a pencil, and using a lens to magnify the little moments.
I began to search for jobs where I could embrace this creative flow, improve it and learn more. Building up a Portfolio of photos, I started to search around for advice from professional photographers, asking them how they got into this competitive but enthusing business.
This in itself needed courage – sending many emails, applying for many jobs, not always getting replies, well it could be disheartening at times. And it’s so easy to get lost looking at those around you who are living the creative dream and waste your hours wishing to be them.
But at the end of the day, these people work hard and worked extremely hard to be where they are today. Anything worth having is going to be hard work and often the only way to be able to take opportunities is to make opportunities.
You have to want something more than you want to breathe.
So I kept sending emails, kept applying for jobs that I may have been way out of my depth in – but still, they were worth a shot.
Just like that.
I was next to the edge of the cliff.
I was hired to be photographer at a wedding.
Now I’d volunteered as a photographer at a few conferences (shout out to UN Youth), and had worked at a Christmas Party just last year, but none of this had as much pressure behind it as capturing one of the most important day of someone’s life.
First step to not accidentally tripping over my feet and falling off the edge of the cliff – was telling my friends and family about this role. So as I walked out of my flat on the way to the venue, my friend’s good-luck’s rang in my ears, my phone vibrated with a cute text from Mum and a steady hand held mine all the way there (also providing a sugar buzz of ice cream to calm the nervous beating of my heart).
I’d taken on a challenge. I was way out of my depth. I was so nervous as this was something I could not muck up. But I had never felt more alive.
Because I was doing something I absolutely loved.
Shoulders back and with a smile on my face, I walked in and ended up having so much fun!
The couple were beautiful and their ceremony was so sweet – as she walked up the aisle, he brushed the tears of joy and love from his cheeks.
I was privileged enough to share in this intimate moment with people who only last week were strangers to me. The bride even asked me which earrings she should wear and what shoes looked best!
To be honest I took on the advice “fake it till you make it,” and by taking on this challenge, I took a shot, an opportunity.
Fingers crossed now, I’ll stay walking along the cliff edge. Hopefully bumping into some of you guys – doing what you love, standing out from the crowd, working hard to make your dreams a reality.
It’s the most divine view here.
(Metaphorical photos of me (and my dad) standing on a cliff edge – taken at the beautiful Matauri Bay)