How To Figure Out If You Love What You Do | CAROL


Can I just say, again, how obsessed I am with photography? I may sound like a broken record, and I know that people get annoyed when someone goes on and on and on about their amazing job, hobby, or vacation. You get the drift--just think about those Christmas family newsletters--the ones where the son just graduated with his second Ph.D. from that prestigious Ivy League school. And the twins, at age 21, started a Silicon Valley tech company six months ago and one is listed as part of the “Top Millennial Influencers to Follow in 2018”, while the other recently opened her Linear Perspectives of Renaissance Art show to raving reviews. Not to mention the proud parents who just returned from their six-month, around-the-world ocean cruise as documented by dozens of selfie photographs with various world monuments like the Taj Mahal and Mt. Everest as a backdrop to their smiling faces.  Yeah. Those People. 

At the risk of being one of “Those People”, I really am excited to share with you my photos from another incredible photography workshop I attended in Utah’s Zion National Park and two of Arizona’s most gorgeous slot canyons, Secret Canyon and Antelope Canyon. Do you ever feel like the more you learn, the less you know? This is photography for me. But thanks to the talented and patient Drake Busath, photographer extraordinaire , I know so much more about landscape photography than I did before this workshop.   

But this post is not just about looking at photographs of beautiful places you hope to visit someday. I am always more than proud to brag about the extraordinarily beautiful national parks of my home state of Utah, and showcase them through my photographs while providing our Villa readers with an “armchair travel” experience should they never get the opportunity to visit. But, the bottom line is: I love to travel. I love to photograph. And, I’ve always yearned to merge these two vitally important pursuits with other equally important ambitions, like my job and my family. So the question I’m always asking myself is this: Is (photography, travel, job, family, etc.) a passion? A hobby? Or a purpose?  Can we call it Hobpurpassy? (Did you know that blending words is called a portmanteau?) 

Many of us dream about quitting our jobs to pursue a passion. We read about other people who take the risk and are successful in making their dreams come true. When I was a child, I dreamed about writing the Great American Novel. I read incessantly, and wrote stories and poems. Once, when I was 15, I even wrote an article and submitted it to Seventeen magazine. I was crushed when I received a very nice rejection letter that stated that my piece did not quite fit their editorial brand, but keep trying!  

So I did. I went on to college, studying both photo and editorial journalism and psychology, and while my dream of writing a book never completely died, I eventually decided on graduate school to become a clinical social worker, which I’ve never regretted. But now that I’ve picked up a camera and started writing a blog, I feel a different sense of satisfaction, despite the probability that I may never write that novel. 

I recently read a Forbes magazine article on this topic of passion, hobby, or purpose, written by Sonita Lontoh, a “green technology expert...and frequent speaker on energy, clean tech, and women leadership topics.”  

The last paragraph resonated with me. She writes: “True happiness comes from the intersection of doing what we love, what we’re good at, and what the world needs.  The easiest is to focus on the first, try to combine it with the second and most importantly, the last.”   

Not every job is going to be your passion. Not every hobby or passion is going to make you money. But I love her word, “intersection,” because it encourages us to sculpt our lives and create opportunities to intersect our passions, our hobbies and our purposes. These connections may sometimes seem grand and unattainable, but realistically even those tiny intersections matter if our desire is to keep ourselves motivated to continue the pursuit, to grow personally, and to ultimately discover and define what our own true happiness really is. We may be surprised along the way; after all, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It is a developmental process, just like aging. But like wine and cheese, time and patience can make some things taste better. It can also result in mold and vinegar if not attended to wisely.  

So, grab that glass of Chardonnay and that slice of Brie. Savor the flavor and absorb the emotion, whether it really is an incredible slice of cheese or the metaphorical tasting of happiness. Because I can’t think of anything more delicious than happiness. 

I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed the learning and the experience of taking them.