Of course, I would use this quote to start this post. I didn’t think I would write about turning thirty. To be honest, I went through the whole, “Oooh, I’m going to turn thirty!” when I was twenty-six. Granted, I was thinking about how I hadn’t really achieved what I had set out to do. Whatever that was.
We are constantly bombarded with other people’s lives on social media and it is very easy to start comparing yourself. I think we all have fallen into comparing ourselves to our peers. I could see that all my high school friends were seemingly somewhere, with their families and kids, and then there were those who had already found their profession.
I did a technical course, there’s not even a word to translate that into English, in journalistic photography. I loved it! I don’t think I would change that. I would have thought better about leaving Chile, all my schoolmates were there, so it meant all my contacts were there. I moved back to Brazil and I immediately fell into a funk. Now they have a term for it, “the crisis of the 30s”. No relationship, no proper job, which meant that I had no purpose?
And this is where I want to elaborate. I have struggled for the past few years to define myself in terms of profession. It’s something that I have always had trouble with. I am interested in everything. I’m very curious by nature, even if it’s a subject I might not be familiar with, I will still sit down with you and ask you questions about it. So, you can see how hard it was for me to decide to pursue only one thing. I liked all the things! When I finally found something that I was more passionate about, compared to other things, I stuck to it. Photography! I loved it so much.
I married it.
But then when I was trying to promote myself, get gigs, and things weren’t going well, my first thought was, “if I’m not a photographer, then who am I?”
I’m a creative then! I sold a few of my drawings and some of the things I made, but it was still not enough to pay the bills.
I’m a teacher again! I don’t have the diploma, but I found myself teaching English and Spanish, to supplement what was lacking.
What was I? A weird hybrid. I could call myself an entrepreneur
but don’t entrepreneurs make money?
During this time, there were days that I didn’t have anything to do. I tried to create routines, be consistent with my instagram. If people saw that my instagram feed was well-curated and had wonderful photos, then maybe someday would hire me. I tried the YouTube thing.
I tried and I tried and I tried. All of this to keep me sane.
This went on for two years. TWO YEARS. Can you imagine?
I redeveloped my reading habit. I drew more. I dreamt about that lady in Amelie, “The neighbor’s comatose wife has chosen to get all her life’s sleep in one go.”
But, you know, this is reality, so you can’t really get all your life’s sleep in one go.
I finally came to the conclusion, that I wasn’t going to let a profession define me. It didn’t come suddenly and to keep that perspective is still very difficult. We are surrounded by people who define themselves by what they do. We grow up thinking, I won’t be until… (insert profession here).
Through that season, I decided I would just be. Accept who I was completely and not let these types of things define if I was a failure or not.
Turning thirty just solidified who I was. Now there was no excuse, you know? I was, I am and I will be. I will keep being even if I’m not doing what I really want to at the moment; I’ll get there someday. I am growing in the process of being and becoming. Look at that, I managed to use “to be” in many of its forms in this paragraph.
These photos I took on the weekend of my birthday. I went to Pilanesberg and camped with a group of my closest friends here. It was such an amazing few days. I did everything that I loved and spent it with some people that I have come to love dearly. It made me thankful for all it took to get here, to this place, where I can be. I know that there will be seasons that I will question myself and ask myself, “what have you done with your life? what have you achieved?”
Then I will tell myself gently, as I would to a friend, “You have lived, You have lost and You have loved. And isn’t love something worth striving for?”