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How Pursuing Passions Changed My Life

A month ago If you told me that I was gonna quit my full time job, acquire an internship and begin to pursue a career based around photography, I would have called you crazy.

You might be asking yourself – why such a rapid change of pace?

It started back in July. I sunk into a deep depression.

I was constantly second guessing what I was doing with my life – I even contemplating if it was even worth living. I’ve never felt so hopeless and confused.

Working 60 hours a week while taking summer classes at ASU took a toll on my mental and physical health. I lost over 20 pounds over the spring leading into the summer. I never had time to focus on anything constructive in my life. All I wanted to do when I got off work was to sleep for hours.

Work consumed my entire life. I wanted to save as much money as I possibly could to afford post graduation plans. However even with the security of money in my pockets It didn’t make me the any bit happier.

The feelings kept building until one night I finally snapped. It ultimately lead to me going to the hospital. It finally dawned on me that it was no longer worth working full time while juggling school If I didn’t have too. I felt like I was missing out on so much of my life that I would never gain back.

Although working hard is something I value I find it more important now than ever to try and find balance in my life. Sometimes you need to step back and re-evaluate where you are in life and where you want to go.

I started to realize that pursuing my own passions is something that would truly make me happy.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela

Photo I took on Camelback Mountain:

Picture Billy Lawrence Took at Camelback Mountain


While I was trying to sort out my life, I happened to stumble across my old camera while cleaning out my closet.

Memories of collecting images and documenting high school sports came flooding back into my head. I remembered working countless hours slaving away at my local pizza place in order to save up for my Canon T2i. I was fascinated by the idea of capturing a moment in time that could possibly be saved for hundred of years.

Photography had slowly disappeared from my life once I had graduated high school and I knew this was exactly what I needed more of right now… I just didn’t know how to get more involved?

Billy Lawrence  takes photo of Todd slacklining

A couple months later I stumbled upon Desert Canvas by accident at the Decadence New Years Eve Festival

After getting separated from my group minutes after walking into Rawhide, I decided to kill time by downing a couple of beers and mingling with others who lost their groups.

Eventually I stumbled upon two giant light-up letters – an “R” and a “B” – covered with with signatures and stories from the Decadence attendees. I was tagging my own signature when I was approached and drawn into a conversation with Todd VanDuzer.

Art Installation at Decadence

While chatting, I immediately recognized a photograph that was sitting on the Desert Canvas table: it was taken by Anthony Swan, a local video developer and photographer that I follow on Instagram.

Munduzer 2015 photo by Anthony Swan

Desert Canvas Munduzer 2015 photo

After discussing this with Todd, he actually went out of his way to text Anthony my cell phone number in order to discuss photography. Within minutes I had created a lasting connection with someone I had just met.

When I saw that Desert Canvas was searching for interns, I thought that this would be perfect time for me to explore what I really wanted to do with my life. The Desert Canvas organization is very hands on and very open to all types of creative lifestyles. I’ve never been so welcomed into an organization so quickly.

Quote by Billy Lawrence

Even though it’s still very early on in my internship I am already learning so much.

I can see so much potential with the organization and the direction it’s heading. It is very exciting to see where the next few months take me.

Photo I took at one of the Yoga and More weekly events:

Photo from Yoga & More in the Park

Pursuing your passions can open many unseen doors.

Sometimes stepping out of your comfort bubble is exactly what is needed to grow and develop into the person you ultimately want to become. Being able to be creative and pursue passions are just one the few way Desert Canvas has transformed my life for the better.

Although my journey with Desert Canvas has just begun. I know that the friendships and experiences I make along the way will be something that will have a lasting impact on me for years to come.


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