Choosing to be independent

I had it all planned. A task schedule, deadlines, even a rough draft for this blog post. The only thing left, was to polish it up before publishing. I was rock solid. I thought. Only I wasn’t.

A month ago, Tanja and I launched our new brand, together with a make-over of this website. Out with the old, in with the new. We incorporated the 3 words that tell you what we stand for in life: candid, spontaneous, independent. And we planned to explain every word with a blog post. ‘Candid‘ and ‘Spontaneous‘ were already published, but when ‘Independent’ was due, I crashed. Hard.


I had been burning the midnight oil to get through the last of our end-of-season photography workload, when I caught a serious cold. Overnight I went from ‘worker bee’ to ‘leaking and sneezing bag of bricks’ that could hardly write an email, let alone a blog post. The sudden transition took me by surprise. During the Summer months, my life was work hard, play hard, and I loved every single bit of it, not thinking about the metaphorical tomorrow.

Today, a month later and finally back on my feet, it seems as if I woke up in a different world. Sitting at the dining table next to the heater, I look outside and see drab, grey skies and fall colored leaves. What happened? I had a plan! How could it go wrong?

I was going to tell you about being independent. About how Tanja and I had left our life and jobs in Belgium, and moved to Canada. How, with gleaming eyes, we had started our wedding photography business, and how we were supporting it with day jobs. About how they had turned into the same old energy-sucking parasites we once shed. And about how we had jumped off an unknown cliff, by both quitting the day jobs and focusing full time on our business (without having a single booking at the time). About how all of that symbolizes being independent for us.


Telling you about my past decisions feels superficial, because it’s old news. I believe being independent is a choice I make every single day.

The confrontation with my limitations and the moral impact of  the season’s ending reminded me of how important my mindset is. I had allowed myself to be dragged into a vortex of negative thinking and fear. Suddenly I questioned everything I was doing, the direction of our business, our branding words and where it was all leading us to.

I couldn’t get a single answer to all these questions, except for one: the question where listening to my fears would lead me to. My old way of living. I always walked down the beaten path because I didn’t dare to explore alternatives. It brought me nothing but a burn-out. Ignoring fear, and choosing to listen to my gut feeling instead is what helped me turn my life around in the first place. So why would I doubt the voice of my internal compass?


Everything starts in my mind, regardless of external limitations. I can’t allow fear to influence my decisions. Fear only serves itself. And it starts with choice. By choosing what I want in my life, I determine it. I have the choice of adhering to my fears, or listening to my gut and going my own way.

This is what being independent means to me. It’s about living in the mindset that I’m bound by nothing or no one. That whatever I want to accomplish, I can accomplish, as long as I set my mind to it. Sure the road to my chosen goals will be rough and full of setbacks. But I’ll be walking the road that I choose. Not one that I happen to find myself on.

I’ll be walking the road that I choose. Not one that I happen to find myself on.

Being independent means more than deciding to move countries or quitting my job without direct financial outlooks. It means I choose to determine where I’m heading to in life. It means I choose to kick all limits to the curb, and define my own. It means that I choose to live life on my terms and don’t accept anything less.