Get yourself a hobby.
When my ex-wife abandoned our marriage without warning almost two years ago I was devastated (to put it lightly).
I went from having endless energy and excitement about life, business, and more to being lucky to stay up past 8pm.
My normal bedtime of 2am was replaced by 20 hours of non-stop sleeping, depression and thoughts of worse.
My entire world, and my “normal” day to day life vanished.
Lucky for me salvation came in the form of an after Black Friday sale at Best Buy.
Suddenly I found myself the owner of a super cheap camera (Sony a5000 if you care) and one really shitty lens.
Like, really really shitty.
But I showed up at The Bluelight and started taking photos of the bands as my new hobby.
I SUCKED, at first.
Seeing all of my photos after the first few shows made me want to puke.
They were dark, out of focus, needed editing, and more. To be nice, they were complete and utter dogshit.
Except to me.
Because to me, they were everything.
The shows (and the shitty photos that followed) kept me going.
One lens turned into two, then four, then many many more.
Every bad day I encountered seemed to matter less.
Where I had failed as a husband, friend, business man, and son – I found joy and excitement in photography.
When things got really dark and the thought of ending it all overtook me, I’d bargain with myself.
If I could just stay alive another week, well then I could buy or borrow this lens or that camera would to keep my heart beating.
Those trinkets and the bribes to keep me alive “just one more day” kept me steady when the world only seemed dark.
In time, my photos started to suck less.
Some even started calling them good.
I still secretly hate(d) 99% of them.
But none of that really mattered.
Those shutter clicks transformed into heartbeats and in time those photos started traveling around the world.
Album covers, tour posters, magazines, and more.
It’s apparently easy to get press when you work for free 😉
Again none of that mattered to me.
I wasn’t doing this for money, fame or fake internet points (although I’ll accept all of them), this was the one thing I could do to take my mind off of the rest of the world collapsing around me. The one thing I could do to see real growth, accomplishment, and improvement over time.
The leaps and bounds I had made in income and impact that now seemed common place to me online, I was now able to fully see and appreciate them though photography.
I’m currently writing this at 2am.
I’ve got photos downloading in the background, a stack of candy and diet coke next to me and a smile that you couldn’t wipe off my face or pay me enough to ignore.
I’m going to spend the next few hours (ok days) pouring over the 479 photos I took tonight and editing 10 to 20 of them.
If I’m lucky, I’ll see the sun rise across my face before I’m done. And I’ll still be smiling, full of joy and a feeling of accomplishment outside of the business world.
So the next time all seems lost.
The next time you don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel or a way out.
Try something new. Try something fun. Try something different.
When all is lost, before you give up, try this.