How One Decision Can Change Your Life. (Part 2)

I believe that one decision can change your life – for the good, the bad, or the indifferent.  Now, I know that may sound dramatic, but to me it feels very true and very real.  As I related in yesterday’s post, I choose to pursue Forensic Psychology as my career versus Photography.  It was a difficult decision to come by and truly one that changed my life forever.  For confidentiality sake, I will simply say that I work in the criminal justice system with perpetrators of crimes against children.  It was always my goal to help people and I constantly go back and forth over why I chose to work with the perpetrators versus the survivors.  Recently, I came to the realization why: simply because I can.

Very few people volunteer for the work that I do and the reality is that these offenders need guidance, assistance, and counseling just as much as any other person, if not more.  If I have the capability to do it with empathy *read empathy…not sympathy* then why not take on that challenge?  I have a fairly good ability to leave most of the troubling things either at work or in my car on the ride home (with the exception of the occasional nightmare) when very few can.  I’m not saying it isn’t devastating and it isn’t hard almost every day, but it is something I can do and honestly, do quite well… so I do.

I’ve spent many years working in this field.  It is often thankless and success stories take years to cultivate.  Some stories are not so successful and even though you know you did your best, the end game may be a hard pill to swallow sometimes.  It is long hours for mediocre pay, but I knew this going in.

What I didn’t know was that by choosing this one path, and not being that reckless teenager I was when I ran carelessly between the crossroads, arms stretched wide, was that I was depriving myself of something very key to the core of who I am.  I am a therapist, but I am also an artist. To not explore and exercise that part of me, was denying myself who I truly am.

It took a year out of graduate school and into my current profession to realize this.  I think I would have been healthier sooner if I realized it earlier, but sometimes our biggest revelations brew within our soul for a long time before they are ready to be realized.

So, in 2009, I saved up the money to buy a DSLR.  I am a film girl, through and through, but not having access to my school or parent’s darkroom, I had to go digital.  Slowly but surely, I picked up photography again, I learned how to use my camera, I brainstormed photo shoots, and it was liberating. (To be continued…)

Discussion:

Do you have any regrets over the paths you’ve taken?  Do you agree that one decision, be it big, small, or somewhere in between can change your life forever?

*For more on how photography became key to me being successful in my job, please continue to read my blog posts throughout the week.  Thanks, A.*

A good photographer must love life more than he does photography.” – Joel Strasser

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