Thursday, November 11, 2010

Redefining My Life

I started this blog because I decided that I was going to design the life that I wanted to live at this stage in my life.  The title of the blog came from the fact that I am what many consider to be of middle age.  I will be 50 years old, in just a few short months, and want to spend the rest of my life living a more authentic life.  My grandmother once told me that, "once you get your head together, your ass falls apart."  This has been true for me as well.  I have had three surgeries in the past 11 months and my recovery has been remarkable. After getting my ass back in order, I have decided to change the path of my life and again live the way that I decide to live.  I also want to live a life of service. 

What can I do to make someone else’s life a little easier, a little better? How can I contribute to the betterment of my society? I want to spend the second half of my life giving as opposed to taking.  I want to experience life as oppose to observing.  I want to wake each day looking forward to what is to unfold, expecting nothing and accepting everything.

 First I had to decide what I was truly passionate about. Now this was a process within itself, because we know what our parents wanted for our lives, what we were groomed to be.  The aspirations of others for my life often blinded me to what I really wanted. Often times you never to discover what you want in life, because as far back as you can remember, you were told what it is you were going to do, what you were groomed to be.  Even though parents have good intentions, it is not often a good thing for the kid that begins to grow up and is often not able to make this decision for themselves. I have always bucked the system and now I don't have to, because the system no longer means anything to me.

 Finding out what it is that I am truly passionate about was a hard thing for me to see,  because I now had to peel back so many layers of the onion to get to ME.  After peeling back these onions you have to really take some time and get to know the core of who you are.  Sometimes it is not the most difficult thing to do.  You can look at your life span of things where you succeeded and things that you failed. I decided that photography is what I was meant to do.  Out of all of the things that I had tried in my life, photography has been the one constant for the past thirty-two years. 

This was all confirmed one day when I was a bit depressed about my failing marriage and decided to take a drive up the coast of California.  I was feeling really lost and emotional, and cried most of the drive.  However, when I reached the mission in Solvang and took out my camera to take photographs of the beautiful landscape, I came alive. It was as though all of what I was feeling on my way there no longer existed, this was life for me.  It was empowering.  I was in the moment, in the Now, and it felt great.

 So I was thinking that any kind of photography was the key and therefore I was just going to pursue photography in all forms, and then I realized that I wanted to do more with my camera. I wanted to enlightened people to the lives of others.

The other constant has been my journaling.  Documenting my thoughts of what was going on in the world around me as well as my feelings about them.  Mostly I wrote about the many people that I have been fortunate enough to meet throughout my life, even if for a brief moment.   I have always enjoyed people and their stories; how we are different, and most fascinating, how we are alike.

No I don't intend to only show despair in this world as many photojournalists have done, because it is often in our own backyard and being ignored.  We also often ignore the many other stories out there, stories of what it is to be our brother’s keeper.  There are stories of good people doing good things and that is also something I want to show.  We often watch the news and see so much horror until you can easily become paranoid.  I had gotten to the point where I didn't watch the news or read the newspaper because I was tired of hearing bad news, and it was really weighing on my spirit, and I no longer wanted to carry that around with me.  Then I realized that there is so much good news that I was missing this way as well,  even if it is often overshadowed by the former.

 My next step was to figure out how I would make a living in photojournalism because there are so many photographers out there.  I have never been afraid of competition, and I am not about to start now.  So with that part out of the way, I needed to figure out how many other photojournalists are make a living. I have been researching this for months now, and the only way I can see it being done is to get out there and find the stories on your own dime, and possibly publications will pick up these stories along the way.  There are many contests and grants out there for artists and I intend to participate in some of these, but for now, I am just going to live the life that I feel I was meant to live, and let the rest take of itself. 

Leaving myself open for life to happen, for opportunity to present itself. 

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