Friday morning in Las Vegas.

It is before the sun rises up, my eyes are puffy, my body is exhausted and sore. However, despite being in Sin City, it is not from a long night of drinking as with many other cliche Vegas trips.

Instead I’m waking up after a long day of traveling and shooting. This comes right after our team wrapped a large commercial photo shoot for one of our advertising agent clients. The past few days were a flurry of working on new project proposals and putting out fires. The night before the trip was a quick packing of clothes and a final gear check.

After this five-day trip we hit another quick photo shoot in Arizona, get one day to wash clothes and repack before we are back on the road again; this time to Los Angeles for another photo shoot trip for a magazine client of ours.

As I allowed the coffee to wake me up I think about my life just seven years ago. I worked full time and although I was still a photographer, it was not my main source of income – although I filled most of my free hours with it.

I thought about how my life would be different – and much easier – if my job only resided between the hours of 8am and 5pm and then I went home. How less stressful it would be to be to not be in charge of large budget projects and a team depending on me to bring in work. How much more relaxed I would be without being on a deadline every minute of everyday of my life. How unchaotic it would be to have a routine schedule working from this day to that day and from this time to that time.

It would be easier. I’d probably be less stressed. I’d sleep more. I’d have more time to spend with friends. Chances are I’d have more hair with less of it falling to gray. Life would be much easier. I began to even feel relaxed just in the fantasy.

Then the fleeting thought snaps and quickly fades.

I was not forced into my current position. I chose it. Just like when I chose to leave my easy mall retail job in college to start a new business venture. Like when I joined a team of journalists in college to launch a new magazine. Like when I founded a Toastmasters program for a group of 22 people. Like when I become the president of Ad2 Tucson or when I sat on the board of directors of SAAEMA, AAFT and ASMP simultaneously. Like when I went from speaking in front of small local audiences to traveling across the country to speak in front of hundreds.

I do these things – not because they are easy.

I do these things – not to make piles of money (I’m in the wrong business for that).

I do these things – because I have to.

For me; there is no other option. Sure, my life would be easier if I didn’t… but it wouldn’t be as fulfilled.

When you personally find the thing that you can’t not do it will not be easy. It will devour your time, your energy and your emotion. But when you finally get there… there is no place you would rather be.

Looking back out the hotel window, light has finally broken the horizon. I get a text to let me know my first model of the day is ready to start. I take one last sip of coffee before I jet off to begin the day.

James Patrick
Twitter @jpphotography
Instagram @jpatrickphoto