What if the world is wrong?

On September 26, 2014, we are launching our new brand. In the past this only involved a fresher looking website and getting rid of expired business cards. This time, it’s a whole different game.

Tanja and I have been working on this rebranding with the enormous help of our coach Jeff Jochum and mentor Meg Courtney, who we both can’t thank enough for their patience and help. Six months of soul digging, cursing, crying, pounding on the wall, wash, rinse, repeat. The journey taught us more about ourselves than we could have imagined.

In the days leading up to September 26, we’ll share 3 blog posts (starting with this one) that will give you a clearer picture of why we are making this transition.

Four years ago

Four years ago, I didn’t live in Vancouver. I was a junior lawyer, sitting in an office in Ghent, Belgium. I spent my days doing legal grunt work and staring at everlasting traffic jams. Staring. And dreaming about a different kind of life.

To the outside world I had everything to be happy: a wonderful girlfriend (now wife), a great apartment, a decent enough income and a future as a lawyer. Only, I didn’t feel happy. I felt miserable. Every single day I felt a noose tightening around my neck. Choking me. The noose, was a question: “is this it?”

Until one day in Spring of 2010. I was staring at another traffic jam when I suddenly thought: “What if the world is wrong?”

I could hardly accept it: I was told that my unhappiness about work was part of life and should be accepted as such. And I had always assumed that my environment was telling me the truth. But the words lingered.

“What if the world is wrong.”

Months passed. Tanja shared the feelings of unhappiness and in our discussions on what to do about it, we toyed with the idea of moving internationally. Just for the heck of it, Tanja took a Canadian immigration test and found out she qualified. Of course, we buried the idea as soon as it came up. We couldn’t move internationally, let alone to the other side of the world. Or could we?

The answer came to us during our road trip through the US in the Summer of 2010. As we cruised from one national park to another, the long car rides made us reflect on life and the thought of moving to Canada came up again. So on a whim, we decided to check out Vancouver. There on the beach of English Bay, looking at the ocean, Tanja and I had our deepest conversation.

It’s then that I had my second epiphany: I realized I hated my job.

I didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore. Ever. Again. I was done with it. I had never asked myself if that was what I wanted out of life. It wasn’t.

The thought led me to another one: how much did I live under the weight of the expectations of others. Society, my social environment, friends and family. Every single one of them told me in some way or another what they preferred for me. But when did anyone genuinely ask me: “What do you want?”

It had led me to not asking myself that question anymore. Which in turn had made me a captive of my own life.

At that point, I knew that I had to get back in touch with myself. To have attention for my thoughts, feelings and preferences. And to allow myself to express them to the world. No more polishing my words into something I thought my surroundings wanted to hear. Only pure and raw thoughts. Unfiltered.

Shortly after my epiphany on English Bay Beach, for the first time in years, I spoke my mind freely to my (former) boss: “I’m quitting my job and am moving to Vancouver, where I’m becoming a wedding photographer.”