I truly believe all things are possible in this life. With a lot of hard work, focused goals and a steadfast belief in one’s passion, most anything is achievable.
It doesn’t matter which pile of crap you have been handed in this life. It doesn’t matter how ugly things have been at times. We each have the ability to shovel out the muck and create the life we deserve. Believe you can, and you will.
This past December I finished all the requirements to graduate with my Master’s of Fine Arts in Photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. This past Thursday I walked in the graduation ceremony held at the Cow Palace in Daly City.
This was not my first spin down the academic catwalk while donning that Darth Vader robe and mortorboard. It was my third.
My first time down that catwalk was 30 years ago when I received my Bachelor of Arts. On that particular day, I felt the happiest I had ever felt to that point. I had beat the odds after surviving a horrendous childhood that statistically should have landed me permanently on the streets either drinking, drugging or otherwise abusing my life away. I had earned what no one else in my family had earned: a college degree.
That first degree was not my magic ticket to success, but it definitely opened many doors for me that would most likely not have opened had I failed to stick with it.
My second spin on the catwalk occurred 15 years ago following a divorce and my constant struggle to provide for my son as a single mom. I was accepted into an accelerated Master of Arts program at the University of San Francisco. I somehow managed to work full-time, attend to my son who was born with special needs, and carry a full load of classes. After two years of extreme sleep deprivation, I received my degree and graduated with honors.
That was the second happiest moment of my life. I had once again beat the statistical odds of both single motherhood and an ugly past. I was beginning to believe the notion that all things are possible.
My M.A. definitely opened more doors for me and soon I found myself rising to the top of the computer software and internet industries. I was flown to countries I had never before flown. I was pampered in first class and stayed in hotel suites that were larger than my apartment at home. Soon I was able to buy a new car and a house on a lake. Vacations were suddenly possible and I was no longer worried about paying the bills and providing for my son. This new life was the opposite of the life I knew as a child.
That life continued until the crash of the technology industry in the year 2000. Stock was suddenly worth zero and pink slips were handed out like candy. I found myself walking out the door with a box in hand and a severance package with zero job prospects and a mortgage to pay.
Sometimes seemingly negative events can actually be the best thing to happen in one’s life. This layoff was my opportunity for re-evaluation and over the next year I was able to reconnect with my creative side and my passion for photography. Once I began to shoot again, I felt happier than I had ever felt in life. I took the plunge and sent in my portfolio to the Academy of Art and was accepted into their M.F.A. program.
After five intense years at the Academy, I made my final spin down the academic catwalk to receive my M.F.A and graduated Cum Laude. So many wonderful things have already occurred in the five months since I presented my thesis project. This degree finally feels like the most truthful, honest, from-the-soul and the depths of my passion piece of paper I have earned.
So where to now? Well why not hitch a ride on a minnow to the moon? There are no limits, only possibilities.