Why Taking A Break From Your Dreams Is Okay

Saturday 14 July 2018

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It's funny how sometimes what you want in life, isn't exactly what you need. And sometimes, stepping away from things that you are most passionate about can be exactly what is right. The phrase 'you don't know what you've got until it's gone' comes to mind.

For this to make sense, we need to go back to the start of the year.

At the start of the fresh new year, we write our new years resolutions. Filled with goals, ambitions, and positivity. Let's give ourselves a hopeful and productive year. Seeing as I'm a blogger (yes, it's true), and a very motivational one for that matter, I shared mine for the world to see.

"Dear world, just to let you know, I'm concentrating on myself this year, and making 2018 all about me..." How very self-absorbed sounding, but also very necessary for me. (You can read the full post here).

I vowed to do what makes me happy; be selfish with my time, and do everything I can to make a success of myself. I embellished my felt letterboard with all the goals I wanted to achieve, one of which was to 'work in social media and photography'. Next up is February. Now, February wasn't the best of months for me. I was in a really low place (you can read all about it here), but come March, I was ready to pick myself back up, and thankfully I did. A way I like to reboot my motivations is to remind myself what I'm like at my best, and proudly placed on my shelf is my 2018 goals felt letterboard; 'work in social media and photography'. With photography styling being my new love, (I love putting together flatlays, you know it, I know it), this is where I was going to start. I went looking for jobs, but it was very quiet around that sector. I have zero qualifications so I knew I was pushing my luck, but you've got to love a trier, and if you never try, you'll never know. I put together my cv, a cover letter, and a small portfolio containing my favourite pieces of styling work. I emailed them away and waited for a response.

fashion lifestyle dreams flatlay

I didn't hear anything back...

...until June.

4 months later. Seeing as there was no actual position I was applying for, I didn't expect to hear anything back. I was excited and happy, but also slightly apprehensive. During those 4 months, I redesigned my blog, realised how much I loved my blog, pushed my content in a really big way, and decided I wanted to start my own business (read more here). This still wasn't going to stop me saying no though.

I had a lovely phone call with the creative director of the photography studio, and seeing as I had never worked in a studio before, he was going to give me a trial day to see how I get on, and also, to see if I liked it too. Now, I'm a firm believer in taking every opportunity you're given. Even if you know it's not 100% what you want, just go for it. I am also a firm believer in taking everything from a situation, whether it's positive or negative. If we aren't put into unknown situations, it's hard for us to grow as people. It's hard for us to test ourselves and to really know what we are capable of.

Monday morning came, and I hopped on the train to the studio, with a bag full of nerves and excitement on my shoulders. I was given a tour of the studio, met the other members of the team and was put straight to work. I was working with a photographer and helped to set up for the e-commerce shoots. My first job was to style a large number of shoes, but over the week, I learnt how to prepare and style bags, accessories, scarfs, and fashion using an invisible mannequin. After my first day, I really enjoyed it and was asked to come back, which I gladly accepted.

On Wednesday I was working on preparing the garments for a fashion brand. In case you don't know, I have been designing clothes since I was really young, and I also have a degree in fashion design. I had always assumed fashion would be the path I'd take, and I'd never had to think about another career. After I finished uni, I wasn't really feeling design anymore. When you are at design school, you're in this design bubble, and you put your absolute everything into your final collection. Once you leave, it can be pretty daunting. It was a combination of self-doubt and... actually no, it was a hell of a lot of self-doubts. I wasn't prepared to fail, so I didn't even try. Definitely a wrong move on my part, but I've learnt from my mistakes in a really big way.

fashion lifestyle dreams flatlay

Now back to the photography studio. I was steaming the garments, dressing the mannequin, and all I could think about was "I wish I was the one making these clothes." And for the first time in about 5 years, I missed fashion. I missed it in a way like when you get homesick; full of memories and comfort. I wanted to be back designing clothes. I want to be creative on my own terms making what inspires me. That's when I realised that maybe working full-time styling photography isn't right for me. Maybe it's best kept as content for my blog, or working freelance. I spent time thinking about what I should do. Maybe I just wasn't used to working in a new environment, or maybe I should give it more time to see. But I knew I had to go with my heart and start designing again. I was really nervous to tell the creative director as I didn't want him to think that I was just bailing on him, because he definitely took a chance on me. I explained the situation and he was very positive about it. He said I worked well with the team, and got stuck straight into work.

When that email came in, I could have easily said no. I could have made an excuse, but I didn't. Not only did I get a chance to work with such an inspiring team in a photography studio, I managed to get something back I thought I'd lost. It was honestly a strange feeling because I was sure I would never get it back.

.@helloaycan is opening up about why taking a break from her dreams is okay

Now I've told my story, it's time for me to pass on some of my wisdom.

Life works in very strange patterns; it's inconsistent. We are given situations which could ultimately change our lives. We battle with where to go, what to do, with never a clear understanding of what's right for us.

But there is no clear plan in life. There is no clear path.

The only way I know best to say this is, sometimes we have to trust our own instincts. When something arises, take the chance, if it doesn't feel right, let it go. I hate the feeling of what if. If I do this and this happens, or I'd lose this, or I won't get to do that. If you're passionate about something, and you've lost the drive you once had, but yet you keep thinking about it, take time away from it. Like I've mentioned above, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. Though true passion never really disappears, it's usually hidden under self-doubt and negativity, and sometimes it can seem impossible to find.

The idea of losing something you love can be scary. I was scared. I felt like I had wasted so much of my life doing something that I didn't actually like. I sometimes wish life was easier; a clear straightforward path. An A to B journey. But then I think about it, and I like the fact I've been challenged. I've had to do things completely out of my comfort zone, and I've had to really push myself and work hard to get what I want, but at the end of the day, I am so proud of what I've achieved. No matter what life throws at me, I keep working hard. I keep trying and allowing myself to discover new things and open new doors.

Taking a break is so, so, so important. Whether is a week, a month, a year, or even several years. And never feel guilty for it. Especially with creativity, you need time to take in everything around you, discover brand new things, and time to reflect. Maybe your dream career isn't the best-paid job, and you want to work elsewhere to earn some money. Maybe you've started a family or had to take care of your wellbeing. Or maybe you were like me and just didn't know if you could do it. Take that time away, and when the time is right for you, you'll be back doing what you love.

In the last 5 years, I have changed so much as a person, my life has changed a lot too. I learnt to trust my instincts and to never stop trying, or ultimately, give up. If you're constantly thinking about something, there much be a reason. Never give up on something no matter how much you feel like you've drifted away from it. Remind yourself of what you love, and why you started it in the first place. I would never have thought that writing a blog post with a list of goals at the start of the year would lead me to a job as a photography stylist, which would furthermore lead to me to going back to my dream career path.

I guess things really do happen for a reason.

This was a really long post, so if you've made it this far, thank you. Let me know in the comments below if you've taken a break from your dream career, and what you learnt most about yourself during that time.