I am often accused of over-extending myself. It’s a tough point to argue – I run a really successful photography business, I mentor several other photographers, I’ve been working hard at building up Concrete Oyster, I’m putting together a photo book,I’ve been writing and writing and writing, I’m an avid reader and am usually both crafting and reading at the same time, I have a way-too-active social life and spend what seems like a lot of time having coffee with people, AND I have a family – my daughter is 3.5 and a lot of my time is spent taking her to preschool, or dance, or swimming. I used to have a 9-5 day job, too.
I don’t usually feel over-extended. Mostly, I get ideas, and I feel the need to immediately act upon them. I love completing projects, I love creating things, I love building my own little empires from scratch. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. I do because I feel I must. It’s so hard to slow down.
Moments in life pass by those who do not stop to notice them. When you look backward, the moments are what matter – not the things you made, the ideas you executed. What is the point of a moment if you were too busy recording it to actually live it? Put down the camera. Put down the pen. Stop trying to remember something while it is still happening – the power of the memory is diminished if it is not yet a memory. We pillage our lives for the sake of art, at times. It can be so hard to just live.
I feel so sorry for my generation, because we are so changed from what we were. We changed. When I got my first mobile phone, in high school, now a decade and a half ago, I was basically alone in this luxury. I was a bit afraid to use it; I didn’t really know or understand what it cost, whether it was worth it. I got in trouble for having it at school. I forgot to charge it for months, it never, ever rang, there was no such thing as text messaging, there was no such thing as Facebook.
What I miss the most from those days is the ability to be completely engrossed in something. Where did all my focus go? My iPhone ate it, I think. Why call it a phone – I hardly think of it as one. Rather it’s an email-checking text-messaging Facebooking contraption that tells me when I have likes and comments and repins and conversations. When it rings, I almost never answer it. Earlier this week, I went for a shower and when I came back I had 18 text messages from 7 different people. I sometimes miss being unpopular.
I look at my three-year-old daughter and wonder what lies in store for her generation. I hope they shun all this. I hope they realize the value of true human interaction. I hope they live in the moment. I hope they’re not like us. I hope that getting behind the wheel of a car does not put them in mortal danger of being killed by a texter. I hope they can hold a true face-to-face conversation with a friend without even thinking about what’s going on in that non-world where all their acquaintances are too busy announcing on their day-to-day lives to actually live them. I hope that they see that the fact that something is more convenient doesn’t necessarily make it better. I look at her and think, I hope she never grocery shops at 7-11 like me. I hope her idea of culture isn’t Starbucks. I hope she questions everything. I hope she realizes that every moment that we have together is important – that life is so very finite, that we only get to do it once, and that it is all we have.