I think a LOT about the concept of free time. Like, a lot. I think about how being a photographer and trying to make a living being creative creates free time that's not really free. Not only to I choose to live in Durango, CO. where it's very, very expensive to live, but I choose to live a life of creativity, a life where I don't have a guaranteed paycheck. I'm a typical "starving artist" who works a second job, sometimes a third, so that I can pay my bills and be able to do what I really love. Therefore, my free time when I'm not working my second job isn't really free. It's when I'm meeting with potential photo clients, blogging, editing (and taking) photos, working on my new website (coming soon!), reading about SEO, designing business cards or marketing material, designing client albums, emailing (so, so much emailing), networking, posting to social media, and the list goes on and on and on. I'm the one telling my friends I can't grab a drink for happy hour because I need to work. This confuses them because they know I'm not AT work. This is when I think about free time and realize my free time looks nothing like others' free time. "Normal" people work 9:00-5:00 and go home. Their evenings and weekends are as free as they want it to be. I on the other hand work, and then have to find time when I'm not working for the other work. Oh and lets not forget trying to balance things like laundry, cooking, friends, my dog, errands, or sleeping.
I have a lot of friends who are just like me. Artists who paint, prepare for a gallery opening, or screen print t-shirts into odd hours of the night because they wait tables or sell books during the day. It's an odd lifestyle but we do it because the art is what really feeds us, not the actual paycheck that buys our groceries. It's a lifestyle we choose, so I'm not complaining, but no one ever said it was was easy, and very few people truly understand the behind the scenes of our day-to-day. Very few people truly understand that my free time never feels free.
This is why for the last year and a half I have tried so very hard to find balance in it all, to not make myself feel bad for taking time to read a book, watch a movie, or spend hours cooking an elaborate dinner when I really should be on my computer. I try to say yes to friends when I know a few drinks and laughter will fill my soul. And most importantly I've tried to get out of town even when I feel so behind on work, or have unanswered emails in my inbox. This weekend, and so many others this summer have been good examples of just that. And the ironic part of it all is that when I finally loosen up and let myself get away, I feel rejuvenated and inspired. And I take pictures for fun, something I too often forget to do.
Pictures taken this weekend on a camping trip to Ice Lakes with my two best friends and our best dogs. I'll share more pictures of this and many other summer adventures soon!