The Day I Almost Gave Up on My Dreams

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by Ashley J. Harmon

The journey to becoming an author started when my husband and I decided not to delay our dreams. We always wanted to work together, we loved photography and a photography business would allow us both to pursue life on our own terms. It made space for me to write, and we met people from all over the world who would give me a deeper love for humans and their stories. But things weren’t always easy, and this was a time we almost walked away from all of it. It’s this time that reminds me to never give up!

It all started with a swarm of hungry ants…

… In my kitchen of all places.  The weather had changed, and these little buggers were searching for food.  Dishes sat in our sink with specks of food, evidence of the immense pressure we were under.  Beyond were bins of dirty laundry, unhappy kids, and a business that had stalled.

We hit our full time business head on, convinced we would be successful!  We loved what we were doing, but not long after Justin came aboard full time, we stopped getting inquiries, for weeks they stopped!  We were supposed to be building up not down!  We were supposed to be crushing it.  We had clients but not enough, we were eating through our savings, wondering what we were going to do.  We genuinely felt we were on the right track, so why wasn’t the right track working?  

Not only was our business stalled, in that span of weeks our AC had quit just as the scorching desert summer was ramping up, our washer had stopped draining (which we proudly fixed ourselves), our car had been crashed into, albeit accidently and by one of our favorite people, and I had been hit with a nasty case of double pneumonia (again, just as Summer was amping up.  How is that possible?).  

And yet, here were these ants…

It was in the kitchen, staring at those ants invade my space, when it all broke loose.  The dam of emotions I had been storing for so long came crashing down!  All the questions and insecurities came up in full force.  Why are we doing this?!  Why does this have to be so hard?!  Defeated, I did the only thing a mom can do during a major breakdown.  I went to the garage with the vacuum, turned it on, and ugly sobbed as I cleaned my car.  It may sound strange, but is oddly cathartic.  

Somewhere in the breaking sobs, with thoughts of quitting circling my head, I realized I did know why I was doing this, I really did still think it would be worth it.  Justin joined me, and we sat together hand in hand in the back seat of our little Hyundai Sonata.  We decided whatever else came our way, we would face it.  We picked ourselves back up, removed the ants from the kitchen and kept grinding.

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It was worth it…

Since then, not every day has been easy; but we will always be grateful we hit the grind stone once again, harder, with seemingly nothing left to give.  We have experienced so many new highs since then, and this year we have completely booked up several months with more inquiries coming every day.  This year we have sent the “sorry we are already booked for your date” email more times than we could have imagined at that low time in our business.  This year we have another very exciting project that finds us once again at the grindstone with a bright future ahead (we cannot wait to share more details on this soon, but we are still keeping it close to the chest for a bit).  Today we are overwhelmingly glad we didn’t quit that day.  We would have missed out on unprecedented growth, no matter how painful.  And we would have missed out on the blessed life we now get to call our own.  

So if you find yourself at the low point.  If the ants have invaded your life, and it seems like you might completely break; keep fighting, keep going–I can honestly tell you it is worth it!!

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