People are amazingly well inventoried with advice. Not actual experience, per se, just advice. If I listened to everyone's advice I'd be stuck in a practical job hoping to eck out enough good performance reviews to be able to sit tight and make it to retirement. With any luck upper management would have not pillaged the pension funds and I would be smart enough not to invest in my own employer's stock. If I took everyone's advice I would have made photography a nice hobby. But I would prudently research all the options first and then buy a system and stay the course.
If I had a real job I would be tired when I came home. If I had a real job we probably would have felt that we could afford silly things like cable television. And instead of printing photos from Russia I could be catching up on Madmen, and re-runs of Seinfeld, and watching a recent Cohen brother's movie from the safety and comfort of my couch.
If I listened to everyone's advice I would have sold stock in 2009 instead of buying it. And I would, no doubt, have flipped houses several times by now and gone from a comfortable place in a nice neighborhood to a McMansion that I could never afford now that the bottom has dropped out of the economy.
If I listened to my corporate friends I would never waste my time writing a blog and if I listened to my accountant I sure wouldn't write it for free. If I listened to the high school counselor I would have ended up as a mechanic, even though I've never been able to figure out hand tools.
But most of the advice I get these days is about trading in my chosen career for something safer. Something with employer supplied health insurance and a regular paycheck. I'd love to get my first novel published and start on a second one but all my friends and advice givers want me to keep writing books on photography because it seems to work out okay.
And when it comes to photography everyone seems to know just what's in style and how to create great art. I know that the two photos above don't rise to the level of great art. Jana and I did them for the fun value. We shot what we wanted. I shot the way I wanted. Because I've learned a very, very important lesson in life. It's short. We never know when it will end. We don't know our own expiration date. And I've watched so many people put off having true, belly laughing fun until it's just too damn late. Photography is a young person's pursuit so if you want to do it you need to get right to it. And never grow old.
There's a safe way to do just about everything and there's the fun way to do stuff. The ven diagrams rarely intersect. I may be delusional but I think it's better to do what you dream you might want to do in retirement first and then get around to the serious stuff.
I have a professional friend that just closed his photography studio. He's not cutting and running. He's not going to live his life out in a quiet state government job. He's all in. He sold the house. He sold all the gear that wouldn't fit in one camera bag. He's 50 years old and his avowed goal is to become a professional vagabond and see the rest of the world. Crazy? You bet. My advice to him? Go for it.