There are changes afoot.
It may seem like not-rocket science for our family to live on one income since I don’t bring in much money, but we have definitely spent most of what I bring in monthly, as well.
Last week, I decided and brought forth the idea to Jared about the idea of us living on just his salary. I worked on next month’s budget, and we can do it except for like $100 or so out of my SSDI check moving forward, even as we pay down our current debt.
I know this is not rocket science. It is a shift of mindset for me, though. I have always lived with a scarcity mindset, which has brought me to spend every last penny we brought in most months.
I am determined to build up our emergency fund. Ultimately, I think I would like to have a rental house since I like looking at real estate so much. And we could build up a 20% downpayment in 6-7 years if we lived on just J’s salary. We could also do a lot more for the boys in that time, as well.
I am also considering paring down my photo gear collection. I’ve pretty much gotten to where I only use the zooms on wedding days, and I don’t enjoy them when I do use them. I am not for sure on paring down the gear; should probably sit on that 6 months or so and actually use what I intend to use for the next couple of weddings.
Speaking of weddings and photography:
Y’all, burnout is real and I am feeling it. It has been one of the highest honors of my life to photograph the weddings I have photographed. However, I am going to start evolving Caroline Price Photography to be exclusively a portrait business moving forward. I have three weddings on the calendar between now and March of 2022 and I am not going to be scheduling any more for the foreseeable future.
I got to the point last week where I just wanted to shut down the whole business and be done with it. But I don’t think it needs to be that drastic. Basically, I am doing away with my marketing budget and letting the business grow organically from this point moving forward. If it grows, great, if not, that’s fine, as well. I am not forcing the issue or pouring more money into it than is absolutely necessary for maintenance at this point.
I miss personal photography. I miss taking pictures at Johnny Jackson’s studio. I miss doing the things that made me love photography and y’all, I have not been doing them. I get so caught up in my calendar and client work and feeling like I should be booking and making this a full-time gig that I forget to enjoy the gear I have, the gear I have painstakingly spent hours upon hours researching and pining away over and all that foolishness. There is always the latest and greatest (I am looking at you GFX 50S) but really, my stuff is awesome and that is because I have good, solid taste in gear. It performs well and it was a process to curate. I miss just getting in the car with no destination in mind, with the camera in my hand.
I am also becoming more selfish with my time. I want to spend time growing this blog, and exercising more and focusing more on nutrition, and have weekends with the boys. I do not want the pressure of feeling like I have to maintain a certain level of income so that I can work myself off SSDI. It’s too much pressure. It would be different if we couldn’t maintain our current lifestyle on Jared’s salary alone. But, we can. And I would argue, for our family’s sake, we probably should.
There are other changes:
I set a hard boundary last week.
There are some people I will not photograph for, no matter whether it’s a paid gig or not.
My photography, my work, is of my heart. Sometimes I make money with it, more often I choose to give it as a gift. But my photography is not for people who have deeply wounded me to the point that I no longer have functional relationships with them.
Two months ago, I would have said, “Sure, I’ll do this ‘whatever’ photography project for you,” to any number of about three people in the world. Probably.
But now, I know that there are three people I will never do photo jobs for. Two are exes. One is a former best friend.
I took care of myself last week. Ten years ago….six months ago…. I would never have set that boundary. I would have photographed the job, told myself I had zero expectations, and completely lied to myself as to whether I expected rekindling of friendships/ whatever.
But I stood up for myself and set that boundary, and I feel stronger for it.
My photography is of my heart. If I choose to share it with you, it is because I love or respect you or feel I can work with you in some capacity, whether money is involved in the equation or not.
And, my heart is not for sale.