A few days ago, I shot some portraits for Air Canada.

Driving to the job, I realized that Air Canada was my last commercial job pre-pandemic (March 2020) – and my first commercial job, post pandemic (October 2021).

My photography business went up in flames in March 2020. A year’s worth of photo contracts – tens of thousands of dollars – all gone in the blink of an eye.

So for the next 18 months – this is what I did:

  • Watched the Walton’s on TV every day with my mom, who lives upstairs
  • Baked bread
  • Gained 5 pounds
  • Enjoyed spending time with my husband and kids
  • Learned food photography and published a cookbook
  • Gained 5 more pounds
  • Closed the photo studio and started working from home
  • Shot a few weddings and portraits
  • Worked as a gardener
  • Lost 10 pounds

In that 18 months, we also lost a close relative to COVID. Gone forever. A family shattered.

Then we watched as Lebanese friends and family lose everything – a lifetime of saving and hard work – due to the country’s economic collapse.

This collapse has been happening for awhile, but the devastation peaked when the port of Beirut blew up on August 4, 2020 – right in the middle of the COVID pandemic – levelling this already battered city and killing 218 people.

I didn’t notice it at first, but all of this changed me fundamentally.

Before, I worried endlessly about the future. Security. Debt.

Now? I don’t worry about anything. So many have lost so much in the last 18 months. Now I appreciate my family. My friends. My good health – and my clients, who – thankfully – are slowly starting to call again.