HOW BALANCE IS GIVING ME THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Sometimes I hear bells ringing in my sleep. I have nightmares about losing papers, missing classes, or showing up to school in my underwear. At the same time, though, I have good dreams, dreams about making kids smile + changing lives, one day at a time.
But I have other dreams, too. Nightmares about losing photos and about missing wedding days. Other nights, though, my dreams are overflowing with beautiful sights and thoughts of traveling all around the world as I document love stories.
I’ve often thought there are two sides of me—the side that is logical, analytical, and all-business, and the side that is creative, hopeful, and fun-loving. And with that, comes the feeling of being divided between two worlds, each pulling me in opposite directions. To top it off, I feel the pressure to choose because I’m asked so often how long I’m going to be with teaching, and where my heart really lies. So, once and for all, I’d like to answer these questions.
I'm going to start by saying the two worlds of the classroom + the camera aren’t as different as you might think from the outside. First off, creativity is actually at the heart of teaching, almost as much as it’s at the heart of an artist. Keeping students engaged in a lesson requires a teacher to be creative and change things up to keep them interesting, so I find myself exercising that creative muscle daily in both areas of my life. Secondly, having an eye for beauty and the technical skills in things like the Adobe Suite have actually proven really useful in my job as a teacher. My school is pretty small, so things are always “all hands on deck,” meaning I’ve been able to help out in the marketing and multimedia areas of the school through the business office and student activities, even though that’s technically outside of my job description. And finally, the people skills that a teacher harnesses throughout their time in the classroom, both with children and their family members, can be critical to success in communication as a photographer.
This overlap between the classroom + the camera has created a much-needed balance in my life. When things get really overwhelming at work with the students and the expectations I face, I always know I have my creative outlet outside of school, as well as the community of like-minded entrepreneurs that has come with it. At the same time, when business is stressful + the to-do list of photography tasks seems never-ending, I know I have a strong school community that I’ll be returning to the next day, and that really keeps me going.
So my answer to those incessant questions? I’m not going to choose. At least not right now. Praise God, I’m at such a sweet spot at this moment where I’ve found balance between the classroom + the camera, both the consistency + the creativity of each feeding off of each other in a way that I don’t want to give up quite yet. They’re like children—there isn’t one that I love more than the other, and sacrificing one feels like losing a part of myself.
So, as of this moment, my motto is, Why give it up if you’ve got the best of both worlds?