Making decisions along a journey can be challenging. Many times, you come to a crossroad and need to make one decision or another, living with the path you have chosen. Though making these decisions can be challenging, for the most part in my professional career I seemed to have always faced relatively binary, simple decisions; yes/no, left/right, etc. I thought I knew where I was going, but I had no idea where the journey would end and that was ok with me. I moved from coast to coast to four different schools to get my undergrad degree, married Matt, joined him on his Army journey, and moved every two to three years ever since. I felt confident walking along this path, because I could see the value in the journey.
Last May, Matt took his terminal leave (last leave from the army), and we moved to Ohio so he could begin transitioning from active duty to reserve duty. We made this choice so he could go back to school full-time at The Ohio State University. With Matt’s transition to civilian life, I was worried about how he was going to handle it all; his entire adult life has revolved around the Army. The only person I didn’t consider in all of this was myself. It turned out my ability to transition from the Army lifestyle to a civilian lifestyle was much harder than I could have imagined.
Missing the friends I had made in Alabama was a given – Matt and I are very used to making new friends every couple of years. However, the loneliness I felt once we got to Ohio completely threw me off. For almost a year, we had been dreaming and planning about this move, and it was exciting because we were actually moving closer to family. My parents moved from Ohio to New York when my mom was eight months pregnant with me, but about nine years ago they moved back to Ohio to semi-retire on Catawba Island on Lake Erie. Logically, this move to Ohio shouldn’t have made me feel lonely or isolated. But that’s the trouble with logic; it’s just not that simple. I fell into this dark cloud of depression that blurred the line between my professional life and personal life and left me feeling unmotivated in both areas. Instead of a crossroad, where I could make a simple decision, I faced a mountain that seemed unscalable.
Questions kept popping up into my head: “What is the point? Why am I doing this? Was I meant to feel this way?” You name it, I thought it. Matt would try his best to motivate me, which actually left me feeling worse since I wasn’t even sure the cause of my sadness. So even though my logical voice in my head was yelling, “Family is close by now! Matt is out of harms way, no more deployments! You should feel amazing!” A fog of depression was seeping into everything I was doing. Slowly but surely, I started identifying the things that were throwing me off.
The biggest issue was that this move was different than the others. Every other choice along this journey came with a tribe of supporters, a community of military families. Matt was now leaving the Army, but replaced his Army routine with school curriculum. I on the other hand, didn’t have that. Columbus is a non-military town, so the lifestyle that I had grown accustomed to was undergoing a major change. Matt had a new community and goals, and I was staring at a mountain surrounded by fog without my tribe.
I decided to set up camp. I thought that the answers would eventually come, and they did, for a little while. However, the holidays hit and that dreaded feeling came back. This time around, Matt and I both started asking why this kept happening. I don’t know if you believe in God - we do, but Matt asked me, “do you think this keeps happening because you’re not in God’s will?” In other words, imagine God like Google Maps - you’ve got a clearly defined route, but you keep making the choice to get off of that route despite what Google Maps is telling you; you think you can find the best way by yourself. Google Maps will reroute you and eventually you’ll get to where you are going, but you might have wasted a lot of time, money, and energy. However, if you follow your heart (or God’s will/Google Maps), you could have been guided to a new little town, saw an amazing view, or made a new friend. But that’s the point right, the journey is the destination? Anyhow, I said “yes, that could be it.”
When Matt asked me that, something clicked and I felt like my answer was becoming clearer. For years, I had a nagging feeling about my work and had asked God to make it clear to me if he wanted me to leave my business, but I always received radio silence. I took that as an answer and kept on keeping on with the business. However, this time it was different. Maybe God was waiting for me to make a move. This was my first tipping point. What if everything was leading up to us being in Columbus, Ohio (remember, the journey is the destination)? This city is crawling with photography and creative opportunities – it’s home to some major fashion conglomerates: Victoria’s Secret, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch as well as some crazy impressive creative talents. Surprising, right? (Not really this city is freaking awesome.) What if every choice along the way was leading to me doing something different or doing something for someone else?
With this recent move to Columbus, Ohio, it has been the fifth time starting the business over. As much as Matt and I want Columbus to be our forever home, we know we need to be open to the possibility of moving again if a job opportunity presents itself once Matt graduates. And let’s be real I’m a gypsy at heart. That was my second tipping point. I recognized that I couldn’t force myself (that’s what it was – forcing myself) to get the business up and running only to close it again if we move. Can’t do it, nor did I want to. I finally saw that God had led me down this path to Ohio, helped build my skills, and then put this mountain in front of me, because he needed me to see that I had to make a choice. I could sit and do nothing or I could start climbing.
So, I trusted in Him, made the decision, and am here to say that I quit Holley Lorain Photography. Turns out that the fog had blinded me from seeing that the mountain was only a small obstacle in my way, and I’ve felt free ever since. The other side of the obstacle is full of opportunities, opportunities that aren’t simple and are unbelievably exciting.
Ever since I was a kid I knew two things:
I didn’t want to work for myself.
I wanted to be an artist.
I find it ironic that on my 37th birthday I finally accepted something I’ve known since I was a child. Most people don’t know this about me, but I can draw… like really draw, and I’ve been doing it as long as I remember. My passion in art found it’s home in mixed media through collage and alternative processes in my senior year of high school and into college. However, I haven’t done any of it since I graduated from college. So, when I closed the door to the business, I realized I opened the door to these God given gifts I have and I am freaking PUMPED! I have the ability to create my own vision and move towards the dreams I have had as long as I can remember. If you would like to follow me along on that journey you can do so through my new website www.holleyrosebaugh.com or via my personal Instagram account @holleyrosey.
I don’t know where all of this is going yet, but I do know I just don’t want to work for myself anymore. Anyone that’s owned his or her own business knows that 90% of the work is spent behind the scenes doing something other than what you love, and it’s a huge time suck. I believe God was preparing my heart to quit and now he is guiding my heart to move in a new direction, and I am excited about the freedom this choice gives me.
Recently, I accepted a position as an editor with Starboard editing (they’re awesome check them out here), and I love it. I'm also looking into some other staff photo opportunities in this incredible city because one of the things my heart has been opened to is helping other businesses flourish.
Now I’m happy to admit my path is clearer to me. I might not know where I am going, but I am following my heart in the direction that gives me peace. I don’t have guilt, sadness, or confusion - it’s been replaced with excitement and a newfound motivation.
Lastly, I want to say thank you. Thank you to my friends and family for helping me through everything and for believing in me, even when I didn’t. To my clients - thank you for allowing me the opportunity to peek into your little corner of the universe and for trusting me with some of the most precious moments of your lives. I will never be able to put into words how much that means to me. Just know I am thankful for each and every one of you. You will always be cherished. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.