Since it’s the end of a long week I thought I’d wax philosophical this morning and discuss some of life’s simple pleasures. But first, the bad news . . .
We live in a world that moves at an incredible pace most days. We are bombarded with more information than our brains can actually process, digest and understand. We rush to get to work, we rush through our day and we rush home in the evenings. We fall dead asleep and do it all over again the next day. We live our lives as if time has no meaning! Let me say that again. We live our lives as if time has no meaning!
But time does have meaning and our time here on this planet is all too short. Let me explain.
I receive hundreds of emails and thousands of blog comments each year asking advice on this camera or that filter or on some technique that will add impact to their images. While I’m always happy to help (I do answer every email personally), I rarely see most people following through with their dreams to become better photographers. It’s as if many folks are waiting for permission to live their lives to the fullest and pursue their dreams.
Those of you that have followed my blog for some time probably know that in March 2007 I came down with an inexplicable and still undiagnosed neurological disorder that left me in almost constant pain with muscle spasms and cramps in my lower back and legs. I spent the better part of a year in and out of the hospital, seeing specialists and being tested for everything from AIDS to Cancer to MS. I’ve had multiple MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds, myelograms and neurological tests. My condition is still undiagnosed, but I do have medication to help control the muscle spasms and pain. It has taken me the better part of three years to recover my strength and self confidence.
Before all this occurred I lived my life as if time had no meaning. As if I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. I had no great ambition in life (other than to support my family and raise my children) and no real goals beyond getting my golf handicap down to single digits. It never occurred to me that my time here was limited and if I wanted to leave something meaningful behind, I’d better get off my butt and start really living.
Without sounding like a Baptist preacher let me explain what I’ve learned. LIFE is a gift from GOD. It is finite and final. We have only so much time to grow, learn, understand, teach and pray before we pass through this plane of existence and on to the next. And we have no idea how short or long our life may be! None. Nada. No Idea.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT not to slow down and enjoy its simple pleasures like photographing a solitary flower in the warm sunshine. It’s too short to sit inside reading photography books, magazines and blog posts every night and weekend instead of getting out there to shoot.
LIFE WAS MEANT TO BE LIVED. It’s a gritty, scary and often exhausting “full-contact” sport where everyone is their own quarterback and the two-minute warning has just sounded.
LIFE WAS MEANT TO HAVE MEANING. Millions die each year without leaving behind a meaningful legacy to inspire the next generation. Be a part of the small minority that does.
Here’s the Good News . . .
LIFE BEGINS ANEW EACH MORNING. Get up early to shoot a sunrise. Stay up late to shoot a sunset. Carry a camera with you everywhere you go. If something looks interesting to you, take the shot. If nothing looks interesting to you, then you’re not really looking are you?
LIFE CAN SLOW DOWN. It’s all up to you. You can rush through your life and be miserable or you can slow things down to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Go sit on a park bench during lunch and slowly look around you. Look for something interesting and take the shot!
LIFE REQUIRES COURAGE (but what have you got to lose?). Mix things up a little. If you shoot predominantly landscape images, shoot some portraits. Have the courage to shoot a stranger. Be a generalist. Specialization is for insects.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT. Don’t wait another instant. Pursue your photographic dreams with determination. Make it happen! But don’t forget to enjoy your life. The journey through life is why we are here!