I grew up in a traditional Indian household. My parents, now getting older each day, pressured me into medical school or law school. I grew up not taking their lead or their advice. Right now, I could be sitting in the middle of a Torts class or a class on something medicine-related. I’ve always been a little more interested in law than medicine. Through my college days, I was aiming for law school.
I’m not in law school.
The more lawyers or law professors I talk to, the less interested I get. I know BAR admitted individuals who still can’t find a job and don’t have the capital or connections to build their own firm. I know doctors who have no lives or didn’t acquire a “life” until they were older than 50. Then again, I also know people who did build a career for themselves with all the money and prestige of law or medicine.
I keep reading about it. The internet keeps giving me the dark side of these career paths. Endless days doing nothing but paperwork, bosses micromanaging your life, people constantly shitting on you for making small mistakes. You’re always on call, you get up in the middle of the night to work on some large transaction or case, you have a family that you barely know because you live at the office or the hospital.
Your son or daughter knows you’re his parent, but s/he doesn’t know what you’re about. Their only concept of who you are is your career.
Either way, who cares, right? You’ve got yourself that job in law or medicine that you studied years for. You’re sitting in an office and getting paid for it. You’re a highly educated and successful individual. The world is yours.
That’s not success to me. Corporate slavery, that’s all it is to me.
Is this really what you want to do? Does the paycheck make you happy? Do you have time to spend all that money? Do you have a life outside the office?
Are you happy? Are you really happy?
Maybe someday I’ll end up at a large firm. Maybe someday I’ll end up working in banking. I’m semi-interested in these fields as it is. They interest me and so does the money.
I’m an artist. I taught myself how to use a camera. I taught myself Photoshop. I taught myself what I know. I didn’t pay someone else to do it. I was driven because I was passionate about photography and design. Is there loads of money in it? Maybe.
I’m not a celebrity photographer. I probably won’t ever make it to a level like Nigel Barker or Annie Leibovitz. I certainly won’t ever become a Terry Richardson (not that anyone wants to be).
Am I wildly successful financially? No.
Are you? Probably not. If you are, are you happy?
I am. My camera and my artistic vision are all I have. They don’t shit on my dreams; they don’t answer me back. They don’t dictate my life, they support it. Sure, I’m still interested in banking and law, but I’m passionate about what I can create. I want to build my own success, not ride on the tail of someone else’s. Either I spend my life learning how to impress someone else and join their company or I build my own and not answer to anyone but myself and my clients.
There’s a difference between enjoying something and actually being born to do it. I enjoy law and banking. I’m passionate about photography.
As I type this, I’m looking for some position in law or banking I can take on just to feed my interests. I’m also weighing in on how that position will affect my own ventures.
All I know is that I’m doing what I love to do. I’m building something from the ground up that I intend on turning into a large, successful brand later on. I may not be in the generous position that many other people are, but I’m still happy doing what I’m doing.
So, to all you high school grads, college students, or you people that feel like you should be aspiring to more, this is for you.
You have dreams. I know you do.
Always chase them.
The day people stop chasing the things they love, the world stops innovating.
Build your own dream life from the ground up. Joining someone else’s dream only means that yours will never come true.
I’m a 24 year old self-taught photographer and digital artist living in Long Island, New York. I don’t quite always know where I’m going with myself, but I’m happy to have built and achieved what I have. Someday, I’ll build up to a level where I’m satisfied with myself and my life.
To anyone telling me I’m wrong or anyone telling me I won’t make it anywhere, I’m not listening to a word you’re saying.
I never accept failure, but I have my own definition of success.
So, keep criticizing me. You’re probably not where you want to be in life either.
Anyone that agrees with what I’m trying to say, keep chasing your dreams.
I do this because I daydream about turning this company into a famous, successful thing in the future.
Nothing can stop me.
-Aakaash Bali, Founder
Long Island Photography by Aakaash Bali
Aakaash B. Photography (ABP) is an Elite professional photography team based in Long Island, NY.
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