As I write these words, I am a mere 62 days away from a job that I will have held for 14 years. On June 4, I will walk out of my classroom for summer, and will not return in the fall. For the first time since kindergarten, I will not have a first day of school.
It’s weird. It’s scary. It’s worth it.
Journalism has always been my life’s work. Even though I have never held an official job in that field, the tenants of mass communications have always driven what I do: Change the world, one story at a time. Being your wedding photographer has been the greatest honor; every time I have the task of telling your story I know I am fulfilling my life’s work of bringing light into the world–and not just your world to come, but the world entire. Joy is like candlelight–one flickering flame can light up indefinitely. Your joy doesn’t diminish the more we share it; it only gets brighter and brighter.
So, even though it is a little freaky, I know this is a risk worth taking. Even better than that is with the right steps, it doesn’t seem like much of a risk at all. It feels right, and I feel ready.
Here is what I did to be in a position to make this leap:
I PAID OFF A LOT OF ALL DEBT – ESPECIALLY “BAD” DEBT
Sometimes we break up debt into good debt (mortgage, student loans…this is any
debt that increases your net worth or enhances your life in an important way) or bad debt (the kind that is used to buy things that are consumed quickly or depreciate rapidly, like credit card purchases, store credit, etc). In my life, I have had very little of the latter; I have more of the former (especially in the form of student loans). I paid off all that I could as quickly as possible. I read Dave Rasmay’s materials, and that helped a ton–if you are looking for somewhere to start, I would start there (or here, if you want your own copy).
I SAVED A ONE-YEAR RUNWAY
Like how a plane uses a runway to lift off, I made sure my savings account had enough heft to be sure I wouldn’t crash. Depending on your situation (single vs. married, renting vs. owning, dependents vs. no dependants), it is recommended that anyone taking this leap have three to six months of funds reserved for life. I am a bit more retentive than that, so my goal was a year of enough money to float my life and my business. I know that once I am able to put my best forty hours towards something, it will pay off bigger and better than before…but that doesn’t mean I am going to be reckless. I still put myself in a position to be safe so I am sorry.
I MEDITATED. A LOT.
Decisions like this aren’t just one and done. Like waves, emotions about this choice will ebb and flow, so it is important to always be honest with your feelings about it. So much of the discussion of quitting a day job for a daydream involves finances, but it is important that you make sure your emotional account is just as full as your savings. Journaling, meditation, and prayer are all things I do on a regular basis to check the balance of my heart. Still full, still good..so forward we go.
We all deserve the right to build the life we love; our careers are very often the foundation of that. This is what I taught my students in my careers course. We all deserve to spend our days doing what we need to live the life we want. I am excited to see where I go on this path…and I hope you join me by checking back once in a while to see how it’s going!
And, if you are going out on your own forked journey, I wish you nothing but the best!!
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer. She provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest! See more about the KLP Wedding Experience!