I think I typed this sentence out ten times before actually being able to get started. Writing is hard, but writing about yourself can be even harder.
As a student, photographer, and now blog "writer", I think it's important for people to know who I am. If you are going to be reading my work, and looking at my photos, I hope to provide an insight to WHO created this work and WHY. Everything that I do, whether it is school work, photoshoots, or blog posts, I try to put my own thoughts, ideas, and values into it. What you learn and view through my work is based on my own personal experiences. So, this is me!
I've decided to try to keep my posts as real as possible, focusing on topics that I am passionate and invested in. One of these is the work I do for my Master's (and hopefully Ph.D.) degree. Whenever I am on photoshoots, my clients always give me the shocked "Oh really??" when I say that photography is only my part time job, and I am actually a full-time student. I am one of those "odd" people who LOVE school. I started my undergraduate Kinesiology degree thinking I would go into physiotherapy or become a doctor, but soon realized that I love research and academia. So, as time has progressed, I have decided to continue to work in healthcare, but focus on more of the "big picture" issues that are present today.
And so, with this in mind, I want you all to know something. It is projected that by the year 2041, seniors will have the highest rate of mental illness in Canada (CMA, 2016). With the baby boomer population, the percentage of people over the age of 65 is growing. However, depression in the elderly population receives a high level of stigmatization and lack of engagement from the general public. I want to change this. Whether is it through my work as a researcher, the pictures I take, or the blogs I write, I want everyone to know how important mental health is. No matter what you do in life, take care of yourself, and others.
One of the most prevalent issues that I am interested in is mental health in the elderly population. After working at a retirement home for two years, this issue became increasingly apparent. Important News flash: Depression and loneliness is NOT a symptom of aging. Getting older does NOT mean you have to be inactive, sad, or alone. I hope to continue to bring recognition and support to this issue, through more education and related career.
To let you know why I am so passionate about this topic, I want to introduce to you two very important men in my life. My most wonderful grandfathers (pictured above) are huge influencers in the work I want to do in my future. I spent a year living with my dad in Gananoque, and my paternal grandpa lived with us as well. We had many talks about life, death, and what it means to get old. While staying positive about getting old can be hard, I was always impressed with his openness and honesty. As a 23 year old, who wants to study the elderly population, the "age difference" poses a potential barrier. How can I advocate for this population if I have yet to experienced it? The discussions with my grandpa really gave me a personal perspective into growing old. My other grandpa, who lives in Newfoundland, was a huge influence on my passion for writing. This man is a author of multiple books, and is always creating new projects in the small town of St. Anthony, Newfoundland. His continues to pursue new adventures and learn new skills, even at the age of 83.
As I finish this post, I hope you learned a little bit more about me, and my interests outside of photography. I encourage you to always pursue your passions. Just because it doesn't seem practical, or "the right time", to do something doesn't mean you can't do it. My photography business AND this blog started at 1am one random night, where I couldn't sleep, so I tried something new instead. And while my passion for my career lies in mental health, geriatrics, and healthcare... I have learned from my studies that having a hobby and doing what you love is JUST as important as having a job. I am lucky enough to be immersed in a topic I love, while continuing my other interests. There's no one stopping you from finding something that makes you truly happy, and once you get started you will be surprised how easily new ideas come. And I hope that you will be as lucky as I have been to receive amazing support from so many friends, family, and strangers.