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What am I doing with my life?

August 14, 2010

It’s been a while since I asked myself that question, but this week seems like a perfect time to address it.

Four years ago today, I moved to San Francisco with a ton of ambition but no real goals. And when I say a ton of ambition I mean a shit-ton of high hopes about this new beginning and all the fantastic opportunities that awaited. I was ready to dive into four years of English Lit. studies at an overpriced Jesuit school that I quickly realized was not for me. I did love literature, though I’m not sure where that love went. I still love writing, but I was a much stronger writer back then, and with a better voice, though with fewer ideas than now.

Even back then I remember wanting to pursue photography, though I clearly recall feeling that it was not academic enough, and that I didn’t consider it a real career because I was so into being a snotty grammar nazi and all the other things that people say about English majors that are true. (I can say that stuff because it applies to me.) I wanted to write for the New Yorker and make obscure references in my essays, wanted to be in on the inside jokes and be all snarky and stuff.

I transferred out of USF after my third semester, after realizing it is a huge rip-off for an education that I found not very fulfilling. Since then I have spent a lot of time wondering if I did the right thing by not immediately entering another four-year program and picking up precisely where I left off, and finishing on time just for the sake of having a BA to show for it. This recurring worry has since subsided for a number of reasons.

I immediately entered the photography program at CCSF, which is awesome and amazing, save for the hassle of recent budget cuts. Next week I start my sixth semester at CCSF, and I’m not in it for the degree, though I feel like I should probably finish it up (which means taking a math class), for the sake of feeling accomplished.

About two years ago I realized I just couldn’t spend my life working for someone else. This was when I got serious about freelancing and finding ways to build a sustainable business in a freefalling economy. During the “Summer of Love” (I think that’s what people called it) in 2008 before Prop. 8 came crashing down, my girl (a filmmaker) and I prepped for an insurgence of business related to queer weddings. It worked well, considering we were both working mindless retail and going to school, and found time to put together the framework of a joint photo and video service. But it has been on hiatus since November 2008, and since then we’ve kind of just been waiting around for Prop. 8 to dissolve so we can reap the economic benefits of marriage equality.  Now that things are looking up, I’ve taken a lot of steps in recent weeks to ensure that we’ll get some work whenever the marriages resume here (because there’s no guarantee that they’ll start again on Wednesday).

So here’s to new high hopes and substantiated ambition. Freelancing is tough because it’s all sink-or-swim, but the most crucial aspect of freelance is loving your job. I know I can do that without a problem, and I’m excited for all of this stuff to pan out especially because I need to prove to myself that I don’t need a BA to succeed.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 25, 2010 7:17 AM

    i think we always ask ourselves that question. that’s awesome about freelance (that’s my goal with writing in some ways so i definitely relate). Good luck!

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