What I have learned in 25 years

Vanessa Jordan Photography, For photographers, for small business owners, Destination Wedding photographer, personal branding photographer, senior photographer

As my birthday comes near I have come to reflect on all that I have learned for the past 25 years. Believe me, I have definitely learned a lot and soooooo much has changed since day one. For starters I am more independent than I was at a day old as well as my tastes in foods have certainly changed. But really though, from the day I was born to 25 years later a lot of growing has happened, but through all of it I have come to find three things I have learned.

Vanessa Jordan Photography, For photographers, for small business owners, Destination Wedding photographer, personal branding photographer, senior photographer
  1. I am stronger than I think I am

Back when I was in college let alone in high school, I had no idea that I would want to start my own business. That didn’t even cross my mind. All I knew was that my path was to go through college and land a corporate job with good benefits, just like my parents had. If anything I though of my photography as a hobby or a side job like my dad did with coaching. Back then the biggest strength I knew I had was physical. I danced 24/7 and my body ached daily, but showed that I was working hard and improving. I had no idea the strength it was take to start a business and continuously run it, day in and day out along with having a full time job. The emotional strength it took to still believe in what you are doing no matter what any one said. To be able to believe so hard and convince those closest to you that this will work. Back then I had no idea I had that type of strength. To be able to want to walk away from a stable corporate job to do what I love. Never would I ever had thought that I would be capable of that. But I’m still here hustling.

Back in college we were told to network and I would go to these events and meet with people to grow my circle. I dreaded them. I would get nervous and not know what to say. Those events were the hardest to endure and I ALWAYS felt out of place. It wasn’t until I became a wedding photographer that it all changed. I was now meeting with clients and making connections with other vendors. To try to create these bonds that then became friendships. I wasn’t trying and if you look at it, I was actually networking but in a MUCH MORE NATURAL way. Little did I know I had that in and that I now ENJOY IT.

When I was in high school my grandma asked me what my thoughts are for after college, I said that I would want to move back to Milwaukee and live my life there. Everything was around me that I needed, why would I ever leave? Once I went to college, started traveling more I realized how big the world is and how I craved to see it all! From then on I wanted to move, I wanted to get out of Wisconsin and find a place to call my own. For a couple of years after college that didn’t seem like it was going to happen. But an opportunity presented itself to move and I took it with out hesitation. Thinking back to that high school girl, never would she have thought to leave or that she would one day CRAVE to leave. At the end of that day once I was all moved in across the country I felt great. It was the right decision and I was actually surprised how well I adjusted to living so far away from my family.

Vanessa Jordan Photography, For photographers, for small business owners, Destination Wedding photographer, personal branding photographer, senior photographer

2. My backyard is only as big as I make it

Like I mentioned before, moving out of state wasn’t on my mind until I went to college. I saw what the world had to offer and I wanted it all. (Still do.) My parents never told me that I had to stay in Wisconsin or guilt tripped me to either. They were always open to my sister and I moving away as long as that they could come visit. They wanted us to know that it was our choice and that they would support us 100%.

Needless to say, some of my family members didn’t like the idea of me moving so far away. But at the end of the day, it was my choice and it’s my life. (I know that sounds like a 90s song but let’s just roll with it.) I can still go back and visit and believe me I will, but I know that will become a better person by moving. I will learn to grow and adapt on my own which will then make me a stronger person. All for the better.

3. Joy comes from within

For so long in high school I saw my friends get into relationships and craved to be just like them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my first relationship until I was a sophomore in college. But through all of that, I was so used to being alone that once I was in a relationship I went a little overboard. So much so that I thought my joy came from these people I was dating. Once I was a senior in college I began to start the journey of self love and really discovering myself. I would take myself out on dates, see movies, go to the thrift store, all things I loved to do. I still do that to this day when I need a break and a restart.

Throughout these dates with myself I had come to find the things that really make me happy. Dance, photography, shopping, fashion, DIY crafts, reading, my friends, baking, etc all were things that made me happy. But once I graduated I began to realize that my joy for those things only grew. When I thought things would be harder to enjoy without my friends, I found that I loved them more. Why? Because I loved them and these things brought (and still do) bring me joy. It took me a long time to discover that I don’t need anyone to bring my joy, I can do that myself. My joy comes from me and is showcased though the people, things and activities that I love.

I feel that this time in everyone’s life is a time of self reflection but I feel that I have learned so much in the past year let alone the past 25. What has been your biggest lesson so far in your life? I would love to hear it! Maybe I will learn something new!



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