November 11th is a day for remembrance. Today has also been one of contemplation and self analysis; something that I am neither comfortable with, or welcoming of; especially when knocking on the door of my consciousness uninvited.
Plonking around on the internet this morning, I found myself, well, distracted. Unable to focus on (amazing) photography by a very clever street artist Alex Coghe. Something that would normally keep me engaged for hours.
The distraction set me on a path of reflection, inevitably making me stop and say what has become a bit of a mantra over the years. What I said was, “For fucks sake Phil, stop letting these silly thoughts, ideas and distractions cloud your purpose. You’ve taken your mind off what you set out to do 6 years ago and your work is suffering. Focus on work and stop being a prat.”
What happened next is not so typical, I stopped and thought about my feelings and the nature of the chastening I had given myself; and I disagreed.
This year has been an odd one, now at the age of 38, many of my old friends are married with children. As a long term and happily ensconced bachelor; when I find things in my life that are not feeling right, it is easy to make the changes needed. The support or permission of anyone but myself is optional.
From the start of this year something had to change, I wasn’t particularly happy in my life. Easily distracted, irritable even and worse, my hobby & passion, the one that became my career 6 years ago, was starting to become no fun.
It took a few months to work it all out in my head, to realise what was missing, but I got there. The path my career had taken almost killed the creative aspects of my life. I didn’t write anything beyond 140(ish) characters, I wasn’t developing, designing, creating, drawing or doing anything tangible that I could hold up and say, “I made this!”.
The decision to buy a camera, start this blog and put back into my life some creative impetus was an easy one. Not cheap, but relatively easy. In 6 months, new knowledge has been eagerly ingested, I have played and learned with my new toys and have taken a few photos which I am quite proud of. Certainly one of the most satisfying things I can see is when my friends use an image on their online profiles / cover pages / blogs. This makes me very happy.
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So everything is rosy and cool, right? Well, yes it is, but that doesn’t stop us from having bad days. I have been single for a long time, I like my life and enjoy my freedom. Unlike many people I feel no pressure to, “Settle”, and will never compromise my own or someone else’s happiness, for the sake of conformity or comfort. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life alone, but in the same breath, will happily do that rather than spend the rest of my life with someone I don’t love, or who doesn’t love me.
[singlepic id=44 w=500 h=375 float=right]I have little understanding of, or patience for those who do.
The point above is what todays ‘mood’ is really about. It is about the relationships / friends we choose, the ones we can’t choose, and the ones we refuse to make a decision about. I have nothing but respect for people who can make tough decisions at an emotional level.
I have some ‘awesome’ friends and I love my family. I have chosen a path in life that enables me the freedom to do whatever I want. I am not hiding anything, I don’t have any dirty secrets hiding in closets, my ability to have female friends is a reflection of my requirement for social interaction, nothing else. I appreciate some people don’t understand this.
I like to think that there is a girl out there who is perfect for me, and I am perfect for them. If the time and the circumstances are right, then the life I have now will end, and I will step happily into the next life with that person by my side. If that never happens, then I will grow old knowing that I have made the most of a good life. I will be neither bitter, or regretful as I will have lived my life, in the way that I chose.
When I said this morning, “Stop being a prat”, I paused and I disagreed. What I hadn’t figured out until now is the silly little things; the distractions and thoughts and ideas that pull at my life, all add to my life’s rich tapestry. It is good to be distracted, and good to be impulsive and sometimes good to say things you mean (awkwardly), rather than saying the things you planned and delivered too late.
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I think that my new hobby and the relationships I foster, are the reasons why I should be happy and grateful for the life I live. Sometimes I take myself too seriously and believe that the decisions I make have a sphere of influence beyond my own psyche. Occasionally they do but for the larger part, the only people who really matter are friends and family.
Lest us not forget that this is a Journal about Photography, as such, I thought that such a contemplative mood deserves a bit of self portraiture, which gave me the perfect excuse play a little more with Flash photography. The photos below, were the result of a bit of silliness combined with me taking the flash off-camera.
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Taking photos of myself today has been good therapy, this article is my version of detention, my lines are “I must not get wrapped up in my own sense of self importance” and the message to everyone else is: Other people don’t speak on behalf of Phil; Phil can be an idiot so Phil should not be taken too seriously; but Phil is honest, and when Phil tells you something, he means it.
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