In the last few months, life has been different for everyone. Work plans for the year have been altered at best, destroyed at worst. So, what do you do when life hits you a big lemon … ?

In the first part of this series affectionately called Lemonade — you quickly understand why — I wanted to talk about my own journey. I don’t openly share my moods very often. However, I felt like I had to do it in these articles. Here is what I’ve experienced with my photography life for the past few months.

My personal experience

2019 was a record year for me. I had more contracts and revenues than all my previous years. That made me very proud because I know how much effort I put into it. I was able to create my own opportunities in a field that is known to be difficult and challenging.

The 2020 season had started well. I had already signed or renewed agreements with various companies and sporting events. The summer was set up to be as busy as in 2019 and I was really happy about that.

My plan for this year was to repeat exactly the same formula so that I could continue to make a full-time living from my photography. Basically, my plan for this year was to continue making exactly the same lemonade recipe.

My good old lemonade. Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash.

A big lemon

Starting in March 2020, events were canceled one after another. The successful season that I had so much anticipated slipped through my fingers with phone calls and emails of apology. Of course, everyone was sorry.

In two weeks, all I had left in front of me was emptiness. A turnaround that felt like a slap in the face … but you too already know exactly how that feels.

The decay

The first few weeks were a mixture of denial and the feeling of forced vacation. I went to bed late, woke up late and wasn’t very productive. I was locked in my house all the time and I didn’t train anymore. Ironically, it seems like voluntary isolation has always been my natural way of reacting whenever I had a hard time in life.

I was ashamed to admit it, but I even started gaming — something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. (My husband was the first to be surprised to learn that I was interested in them.) At some point, I was even watching videos of people playing video games to learn strategies. It lasted a few weeks. I needed to feel that I was moving forward with something and, more importantly, that I was occupying my time and my mind.

Mario Bros
I admit it. Mario got me during the containment. Photo by Cláudio Luiz Castro on Unsplash.

The click

As funny as it sounds, those few weeks of “wasting my time” playing video games turned out to be beneficial. It allowed me to discover new platforms and even think about different business opportunities. YouTube, Twitch, Discord, Patreon, podcasts, live streaming, video tutorials … millions of people around the world have been taking advantage of this for years and it’s only now that I realized the full extent of it.

So I thought … why not me?

Getting my sh!t together

My flame and enthusiasm came right back as soon as the idea of a new project came up. I figured if I spent the same amount of time learning how a new platform worked as I spent on a video game and its tutorials, I could get to level 99 in real life, too.

I rescheduled my agenda. Being self-employed, the danger to have too much freedom can lead you to have no structure at all. It depends on each person I guess, but I know I need a routine to be efficient.

For the past month or so, I’ve been putting my alarm clock back on in the morning. I get up, I make a to-do list for the day and for the week. I also make a priority to do a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Sometimes I run, sometimes I do weightlifting, sometimes I walk. Sometimes it lasts 30 minutes, sometimes more than an hour. I just go with the flow.

Crushed lemons
Photo by Jeff Siepman on Unsplash

Squeezing the lemon

I finally feel like I’m taking my life back again. I can’t control what happens, but I can control how I react to it. I know, we’ve heard that a lot — and it’s certainly for a good reason.

Instead of just sitting back and watching a big lemon that has landed in the middle of my table, I decided to take it on myself and start to squeeze it. Just a little at first, to see how it would turn out. I eventually realized that there was juice coming out of it. Now, not only do I intend to squeeze it to the last drop but also to make a delicious and nutritive drink out of it.

Hard to believe? Wait till you see the rest of the story in part two!

Lead image by arianka ibarra on Unsplash