The new year brings new resolutions, new words, new goals, new feelings awakening inside. Lately, I’ve been sensing a new something stirring deep inside me, an old sense of propriety about to be broken and a new freedom about to be discovered.

I’ve always taken photos that I considered “safe”: proper composition, proper lighting, proper focus, proper everything else. I couldn’t tap into that creativity that I sensed lay inside of me, if I even knew it was inside of me.

For a while I flirted with the idea of belonging to a 365 Facebook group to help me discover and dig further into this new being moving about inside, but left the group a mere 48 hours after joining. This journey that I’m on is mine to travel and figure out and I want it to be mine alone.

I need to be focused and not distracted, which is something that checking into the FB group daily would be. I have taken the beginning steps towards this creative self-discovery, writing out in longhand the means to get to where I’m going, 2018 looked upon as a planning stage to this larger journey I’m about to embark upon.

I want to give myself permission to be selfish this year, to walk upon the creative path by myself, figuring out what it is outside of photography that inspires me, the music, the colors, the people, the words, the moods of the world.

And then click it all with the camera’s shutter.

All the above images were taken with the Lensbaby SOL 45mm, gifted to me this Christmas by David and the kids.

Friday Thoughts

I had an epiphany Thursday morning while running. I seem to always have my best ideas while running, folding laundry or scrubbing the bathroom. Also, taking a shower and shaving my legs. I don’t know why that is, but I do. 

Back to my Eureka! moment. 

While I am enjoying (and learning a lot about myself) reading Rachel Hollis’ book, the thought occurred to me, that while there are a lot of good quality self-help/motivational books out on the market, they seem to be geared toward a younger crowd; the same can be said about photography sites that aim to teach you how to take beautiful photos of your young children. Don’t get me wrong, those books and those photography sites are jam packed with terrific content, but what about those of us who have older children or children who have already entered into adulthood?

I am 53 years old. When I turned 50, I was excited beyond belief. I was finally at my favorite number (I was exactly halfway through my life, having spent the first 25 years being a kid, a young married woman and a new mother. Now here I was ready to start on the second half of my life because I’m convinced that I’m going to live to be at least 100 years old. That was the pact I made with 4-year-old Joey, anyway); I had at least 25 years left to spend just as I liked and, like I said, I was excited beyond belief.

But now that I’m well established in my 50’s where do I go from here? You know, when you first set out being a parent, you’re filled with excitement and hope and the wonder of it all. But then the honeymoon period wears off, usually about the time the baby is cutting his fourth tooth and you’ve forgotten what an uninterrupted night’s sleep is. You do come out at the other end, however, still filled with the excitement, the hope and the wonder of it all, but at the fact that you survived raising your children and lived to write a blog post about it.

Only kidding.

But your kids have grown, don’t like having their pictures taken anymore, and now you have all this free time. You begin dreaming about all the adventures you’re going to take, the endless amount of free time you’ll have to spend as you want and that huge open road that’s spread before you now that your kids are grown, self-sufficient and living on their own, creating their own lives. It’s all great for the first year, but now that you’ve got a semi-routine down, you find yourself in a bit of a quandary: yes, you have free time, but there’s still laundry to do, groceries to be bought, errands to run . . . all the same old same old from when you were an Active Parent. Those dreams still float around in your head, but they’re harder to catch and make true.

I know so many women who have invested their lives in the raising of their kids, something I think we all do as parents: your children are first and foremost the the most important people to take care of; but now they’re beginning to leave the house and you have time once again for yourself.

I am eager to start a sports/portrait photography business. In ten years, I want to see myself sitting next to David as we go across the country photographing mountain bike races and the people that ride those bikes. I want to take sports portraits of athletes. I want to take all these pictures and write about our adventures. Just sell our house, load up the Subaru with our laptops, cameras and lenses, David’s mountain bike and my trail runners, the dog and a few clothes and hit the road.

To sum up:

In ten years, I want to be a well established sports photographer, traveling the country with David taking pictures and writing about our adventures.

It’s a great dream and something that David and I have talked about doing for years. But how do I go about doing that if I’m well into my 50’s and 60’s? What does Rachel Hollis and all those other self-help/motivational gurus have to say about that?

And . . . while we’re on the subject of dealing with an empty nest, how can you talk your adult children into posing for you so you can practice portraiture?

A lot of questions, a lot ideas to be solved, a lot of goals to achieve. Maybe I should write a book for women my age.


A New Practice

From the archives

I began a new practice this morning after my oatmeal and coffee, hopefully a practice that I can stick with for the first time. I began a “Start Today” journal, an idea I read about over on The Chic Site. I actually stumbled upon the site through iBooks the other night when I was trying to find a new book to read myself to sleep. It’s an interesting site, a very empowering, I-am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar type of site, but with just enough humor and down to earth humanity thrown in to keep me from squirming too much.

Usually I click off those empowerment blogs and websites faster than I clicked on them to begin with. Just something about all that integrity and passion and authenticity makes me question my own self and ask myself what it is I’m doing wrong with my life to be unable to live like the writer is talking about.

Needless to say, self-help books usually make me feel pretty bad about myself rather doing the opposite: helping myself to feel better about myself. I’d be a terrible motivational speaker.

Anyway, the point of the journal that Rachel Hollis is talking about is that you sit down everyday and write out first, what it is you’re grateful for before moving on to writing out your goals that you want to achieve. The final step is to write down the one goal you want to achieve and how you’re going to go about achieving that one goal. Hollis is a firm believer in tackling only one goal at a time.

Makes perfect sense to me and it’s how I tend to operate, too.

It’s like you’r making little promises to yourself everyday. You wouldn’t make a promise to meet your best friend for a cup of coffee only to blow her off at the last minute because you didn’t want to miss out on the latest episode of your favorite television show, so why would you break a promise that you made to yourself to run more miles or to be more forgiving towards others? The neat thing about this intentional goal setting is that Hollis tells you to write your goals out as if you’ve already achieved them, and if you write them out every day like that, one day you will be able to run 10 miles non stop and to be more forgiving towards others. It’s a practice I’ve heard Peter Hurley describe in some of his classes I’ve attended. This practice is called “visualization” and if you intentionally write out what you want to be, to accomplish, to become every single day, you will become whatever it is you want to become.

My goals are a mix of pithy and hard. Yes, I want to be able to run 10-12 miles on my long run days again and to be the weight I was 13 years ago, but I also want to stop thinking so negatively and to be less stressed, especially at this time of year when not only is it the holiday shopping season and Meghan’s birthday and Christmas, but throw in my mother getting her other knee replaced, a trail race I’m shooting and an engagement session I’m photographing on top of surviving the first Christmas without my sister and helping my parents through that . . . I could so easily go off the rails. So to remain calm and stress free is going to be hard these last few weeks of the year, but if I keep telling myself that I can do it, then I believe I will.

I really want this to work because this year up until now has been an incredible year for me, a year that I can finally (hopefully) look back on on December 31 and say, “wow, look at everything I’ve done and everything that I’ve accomplished.” I’ve never been able to do that before, making my wishes and dreams come true (how very Walt Disney that sounds!), but something tells me that this year I’ll be able to.

And with that being said, it’s time to lace up my running shoes and start my daily therapy session.