I’m not there yet, truth be told, and I don’t know if I ever will be. This is ok. There is something that gets forgotten in our never-ending hustle to become what we should and it’s a simple thing, but like all simple things, they seem to get lost in the shuffle the more complex we make our lives. It is this:
There is no time limit on becoming yourself, there is no rush.
Who we are at this exact moment is worthy of praise, of pride, of appreciation, and this is something I have spoken to at great length on this Signal Fire. We do not need to improve anything we do not wish to improve when it comes to our physical forms, our emotional states, our habits, our proclivities. It’s a choice that remains entirely with us, no one can kick-start anything we do not wish started, no one can enforce a shift that we are not desiring. In this though, it should be said, and said again, it is ok to wish for changes, to dream of bigger things, to hold onto goals, plans, and hopes, like they are coated in gold and make possible all we know to want. It’s ok to aim for things, to plan for them like they will happen, for they will if we work at them, they will if we want them badly enough. Where we steer wrong, is the idea that there is a time limit on dreams, that there is a countdown clock that starts at some significant event, graduation, birthday, whatever, and it expires in some distant future day. That we’re up against it, at all times, racing this metronome until we, or it, expires. False, I say, false.
Me, personally, I’m not there yet. I’m not even close to being there yet, and I know “there” is a goal line that will keep moving, inches forward for each month I draw breath, again, this is ok. Truth is, there is more I need to do, more I want to be, and some of the things I am doing now I know are not what I wish to be doing 10 years from now, but they are steps on the path to get to the other path that will be the path I think will bring me more happiness. I’ll expound.
Sarah and I pay most of our bills taking photographs, as running a newsletter and the paltry returns on published books do not put enough food on the table, or insurance in the medicine, to call it satisfactory. Maybe one day, if enough people in enough places sign up for this little Signal Fire, I can cut back, but for now, it’s photographs, and here’s the thing: I LOVE taking photographs, but unfortunately, the path we’re on means that 99% of our jobs are wedding photographs, and whilst it’s been an amazing thing over the last 13 years, it’s not the kind of photos I am passionate about taking. I am made for travel photography, for nature photography, for taking candid and documentary style photographs in random cities, random forests, on the shorelines of some craggy sea. I am made for National Geographic style story-telling, my images paired with my writing, and I know that this offering, this combination, has value. Trouble is, I Just don’t know where to put it, I don’t know yet the steps to make it a reality. I know I will keep trying to find out, I know I’ll keep working, always working my silly ass off to make this dream happen, but I know that it takes time, and it takes hope, and it takes a little bit of luck. What I’ve learned, is that inside these truths, lives another, and it is that it’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to ask those for their assistance in getting you to that point. If you’re doing the work, if you’re putting in the blood, sweat, and tears, it’s ok sometimes to reach out and try to increase the luck that needs to fall your direction.
I ask today, to any and all of you, for help in this regard. If you know anyone, anywhere, that could help make this dream of mine a reality, I would love to know. I would love any contacts, advice, connections, hell, anything, from anyone, if they know of people doing this type of thing, living this type of life. I am always all ears, and I remain so now, open, sponge-like, enthusiastic, ready.
I call all this the scenic route, the meandering path to who we will one day be. The journey has always been the thing, a cliche repeated so many times it blossomed into something even more than cliche, and that’s because cliche things are cliche because they are true. The winding paths hold all the beauty, and its the things we find along the way that actually do the shaping when we swear we’ve “arrived” at where we’re going. On this path of mine, I’ve found so many beautiful things, I’ve found friends that began as clients and remain close to this day, I’ve found secret little spots on the map that I never, ever, would have visited if given 1,000 choices otherwise. I’ve found love, the strongest love I never knew was possible, but always, always, dreamed of finding. I have found peace, calm, trials, tribulation, joy, heartbreak, and wisdom that comes from them all. This strange path of wedding photography, of book tours I never thought I’d be capable of attending, of random collaborations with random companies in random places. Every single one, another memory in the highlight reel of my life. Every opportunity, another chance to push further, closer to where I want to be, to how I want to live. What a thing.
This Signal Fire is a reminder, to myself, and to you, that it’s ok to be slow at getting to where you want to get. It’s ok to take the scenic route, and it’s ok to know, in the deepest recesses of your soul, that there is more you’re destined for, that you’re aiming directly towards. We get so talented at being hard on ourselves, at holding ourselves to such extreme standards, and we convince ourselves that if we don’t achieve what we want to achieve in the shortest amount of time possible, it’s not a success at all. Rubbish, this. I say again, there is no time limit on becoming yourself, and it needs repeating, that we already are the “yourself” we want to be, we’ve always been. We’re adding to, always, never starting fresh. All we’ve done, seen, endured, celebrated, is the clay we build ourselves stronger with, the gold in the cracks that makes us beautiful.
Go, dream, try, wander, and ask for help. If there is something calling out to your soul, listen.
Take the scenic route, and wave when you see me there.
I’m still not quite there,
I’m taking the scenic route,
to who I’ll become.