I will no longer be pursuing photography. Honestly, I didn't really pursue it much at all in 2011 anyway, what with school taking up much of my time and energy. It's an art that I will always love, and I have no intention of putting my camera down completely. However, I don't feel quite the pull towards it that I used to. Perhaps it's because I never really had the money to advertise or purchase new (read that "better") equipment. I always just worked as best as I could with the little bit of gear that I had. And for awhile, that was enough. But, like everything in life, you get to the point where you want to evolve your trade, your skills, and in order to do that, money was necessary. And, right now, it's just not an investment that's possible to make. I'm reminded of what Harry Connick Jr's character said in the movie Hope Floats: "You find something you love, then you twist and turn it trying to find a way to make money from it. By the time you're finished, you can't even remember what it was you loved." And that's kind of sorta where I'm at with photography. Will that change in the future? Very possibly. But, for now, it is what it is.
I also bid farewell to college because, once again, the funds to continue just weren't there. And that's okay. It was a bit of a blow at first, but if I allowed every let down to get to me, I'd be a basket case right about now. Plus, I'll be honest, it was strange to be an adult back in the classroom. I've worked in the "real world" since I was fourteen. I know exactly what it's about and how to maneuver my way through it. And it was slightly amusing, yet a bit of a time waster, to hear the professors ramble on and on about life in the workplace and just what "we", as college students, could expect. (And sadly, most of the time they were very, very far off the mark.)
There were a few other dreams that I bid adieux to as well, but school and photography were the big ones. Lack of finances to properly pursue a dream can be a real hindrance. And that got me thinking. What could I actually do that didn't cost any money? What goal could I strive for that no one could deny me except myself? No financial aid counselor, no bank, no loan agency, no economic recession...
And in one breath, the answer hit me.
Health. Fitness. Run a marathon. Conquer a triathlon. Be the best physical me that I can possibly be.
On January 2nd I popped in a Tae-Bo DVD. I turned up the volume to a level that successfully drowned out the ever-present chatter in my head. I kicked. I punched. I swore. I sweat away every bit of rage, anger, and frustration that I had felt in 2011. When I was finally done, heaving and panting, I clicked the play button and did the DVD again. By the time I was done, my body was ready to collapse, but my spirit... my spirit was soaring.
For the first time in a long time, I felt alive. I felt powerful. And, perhaps most importantly, I felt... hopeful.
Since then, I've faithfully kicked, punched, lifted, and ran my way through January and the beginning of February with an energy and determination I never knew I had. Or, at least, with an energy and determination I haven't experienced in a really, really long time.
Ninety minutes of Tae-Bo. Two miles on the treadmill. Twenty minutes running stairs. An hour on the elliptical. Lift weights. Repeat.
This is how I spend my time. Now.
I really don't know where this frantic need to exercise, exercise, exercise comes from. I'm sure a shrink would say that it stems from my need to busy my mind and occupy my thoughts so they can't dwell on what was lost. And maybe that is the case.
But I think it's more than that.
For so long, I worked at getting my mind aligned with my spirit. Thinking positive. Meditating to gain peace. Changing my thought patterns from guilt and worry to acceptance and hope. But I never worked on my body. Not with near enough dedication and commitment that it really deserved.
I'm finally understanding why the greatest spiritual teachings encourage the alignment of mind, spirit, and body. No matter how much attention you give one area, if the other two are lacking, you might as well be doing nothing at all.
This blog will be sort of dead for awhile. I really don't feel the need for it anymore. Maybe once in awhile I'll post some photos of the beautiful area we're lucky enough to call home, or something along those lines. But other than that, this is one chapter of my life that I feel like closing. At least for the time being. To the two or three people out there who actually read this little blog, thanks for the support. This tiny corner of the internet has been a great place for me to pour out whatever was in my head, my heart. It's never been very professional (this rough and choppy post alone is a testament to that), and I certainly didn't start it to impress anyone. Just an online diary to appease my inner artist and seeker.
With a sigh and a huge feeling of relief, I'm turning my attention towards 2012 with an open heart, an open mind, and a mantra of que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.
** This 2011 ad from the Wyoming Office of Tourism sums up the way I hope to live my life beautifully.
"Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go."