My journey: The good, bad, and beautiful

My journey started with my best friend Buddy
Buddy hanging out by the lake

We all have a story to our journey. Some of us have a neat linear story with a beginning, a middle, and hopefully not yet an end, and some of us have stories that bounce around from beginning to middle to beginning again; there’s an end here and there, and then we go back to the beginning again. That second one that’s how my journey goes. This is the story of how I became a photographer. 

It all started one morning in August of 2019; I was working as a design quality engineer in the biotechnology industry; I was getting ready for work, having chest pains from the anxiety as usual, when I decided I was done. The industry that I was working in was literally going to kill me. I was sure I would drop dead from a massive heart attack at 40 years in the middle of a cubicle farm and become a cautionary tale. That morning I quit. I gave them a month to get their loose ends tied up, and then I was done.

Rewind

Let’s rewind just a little; back in 2007, the economy was booming, sort of, we were technically in a recession, but people were spending money like it was going out of style. I was selling pools and spas and making money hand over fist. Then one night, the president at the time got on TV and announced that the economy was kind of in the toilet, and overnight we went from selling stuff to dead, completely dead.

I knew I would have a tough few years, so I pivoted my journey and I finally decided to attend college. At 27, I started a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary biology; at 30, I started a master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology; and at 32, I started my first job in the biotech industry. It was a whirlwind of sketchy deals, bad ideas, and questionable ethics. In 8 years, my dream career turned out to be a nightmare. 

The Pivot

Somewhere along the way, I  picked up this photography thing and was getting pretty good at it. To the point where people were asking me to do work for them, but I was actively avoiding it. So when I got up on that fateful morning and decided to bail, I figured I’d go see what I could do with this photography thing. And so that was it. At 39 years old, after over a decade of studying and working to have my dream career, I walked away to start Capturing EveryBuddy by C. Eaton Photography, LLC

And then covid showed up; what the hell, man?! I guess I figured I’d get the tough stuff out of the way first. Seriously though, owning a business is hard. When they tell you that you get to make your own hours, they aren’t lying, but they don’t say you can pick precisely which 80 hours a week to work. No matter how hard and stressful it is, it’s still not the kind of stress that I experienced in the past.

I’ve done many hard things in my life, but hands down, I have to say that building this business that I depend on to eat is the hardest. However, I get up every day ready to work, and on the days I hate my boss, I only have myself to blame. There is still stress, just a brand of stress I can handle. There are still bad days, but the good days come more often now than they did before. 

Where I am now

These days, when I think about it, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I am more resilient and feel like I have more control over my life and my journey than before I went out on my own. Granted, some days, it is horrifying; some days I feel like quitting, and some days I question my decisions making abilities, but then the good days come, and I wonder what I was even thinking on the bad days. Doing the right thing for my career has led me to make other good choices, like exercising and making new friends.  

This is why I go on a walk every day, and many times a week, I meet with people who set my heart on fire and actually look forward to doing it. I haven’t once in 3 years now dreaded going to work because work is just my life, and I like those things finally. This is why I love hearing about other people’s transformations and even encouraging them to make one if they haven’t yet. Tell me about your transformation, and if you have one you want to make, let’s grab a coffee so I can talk you into it!

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