I’ve lived in New York City for nearly a year and a half now. It has been full of twists, turns, surprises, disappointments, failures, joys, laughter… all the things, really.
One of the biggest surprises came about 9 months ago. I was honestly on the verge of leaving New York and heading back to Nashville. I was traveling almost constantly for clients I had acquired prior to moving to New York and I couldn’t really identify the reason I was actually living in the City, since I wasn’t working here nor acquiring clients here.
As I was making the decision of what to do, I had an interview with a rather large Fortune 500 company for a Producer position. I told myself that this would be the deciding factor. If I liked the job, I would take it and that would be my sign to stay. If I didn’t, I would take it as time to head back to Nashville. Funny how we think we can confine life to our rigid, GOOFY ideas, huh?
So, life slapped me upside the face like a wet, living lobster and I neglected most of the “Best of 2013″ lists and thoughts and things. So its too late now. But its not too late. It’s never too late. Because it’s the internet.
So, here are my lists of some of my most favorite things that you should check out from this last year, as well as some of my favorite moments that took place. Okay? Okay.
I’m tired of failed New Years resolutions, aren’t you?
In fact, I’ve given up on them, really.
Instead, I want to make a resolution revolution. (And to use more cheesy slogans like this one)
What if we aspired to small, tangible steps? Steps that aren’t sexy, aren’t the flash bang we may want, but when we can look back on them years from now we’ll see how the small, incremental steps lead us to a whole new way of living. Of seeing the world and our place in it.
What if we started looking outside of our bubbles, even around the corner, to our neighbors in need?
What if we started reading news about the world around us, outside of our country, of different viewpoints and perspectives?
What if we had a legitimate conversation with that person of ethnic descent that we’ve labeled a potential terrorist, a former criminal, in our minds?
What if we listened more than we spoke?
What if we lost every sense of entitlement that has crept up on us, and instead treated every good thing we are given, big or small, as a gift?
What if we stopped the flow of the talking heads psychobabble, and actually formed our own opinions and sought out fact from fiction?
What if we stopped the “need” to instantaneously react to anything and everything we see/hear/taste/touch?
What if we found common ground?
What if we learned to love, even a little bit more?
What if we were honest? With ourselves and others?
What if we were okay with who we are?
What if we figured out who we are?
What if we discovered patience, and decided that sometimes good things do come to those who wait, and that instant gratification is mostly cheap, easy and will leave a bad taste in our mouths, and most likely give us heartburn?
What if we started to realize that security is a myth?
What if we dared to risk something? Big or small. Took a leap?
What if regret was not an option?
I’m so thankful for 2013. It has been filled with peaks and valleys, sickness and health, bright tears of laughter and burning tears of sadness. I hope that I’ve embraced all of it. The joy and the suffering. Because life, when lived wide open, is rich, and full, and you cannot help but be different than when you started.
That’s my hope. That’s my challenge. Baby steps. Let go of one thing at a time. Step by step. Moment by moment. Ane when we look back, we will see a different, truer, version of ourselves.
How did this happen??? No seriously. How did this happen?
This has been one of the wildest 6 month spans of my life. Which is somehow saying a lot. I’ve been really terrible at posting on here. The worst, really. I want to make this guarantee, this promise, to the 3 of you who will actually read these words, that YES!, yes, I will do better. I will post daily. Or weekly. Or, something. But I can’t. Because I’m the worst. At this. And probably other things. But mostly this (and probably other things).
So what have these last 6 months looked like?
I moved to New York City in January.
I worked with ELIC in Thailand for 2 weeks in February.
I worked with a not to be named organization in Prague & Malta in March. (This was also the last time I blogged. I’m an embarrassment to the internet.)
I had the privilege of photographing my dear friend Biscuet & Jennifer’s wedding in March. Such a great time!
I worked with The Zinghoppers on some new programming for PBS kids in April.
I returned to Prague to produce a conference & then went to Budapest in May.
I continued my ongoing documentary series for ELIC in Vietnam in May.
I’ve spent all of June traveling, only to return to NYC this past Friday night. I started in Atlanta, flew out to Fort Collins, CO for a few days, then headed off to New Zealand for two weeks of filming and adventure, and then I spent the last week in Hawaii. Life is hard.
I’ll have a lot more coming soon on what went down in New Zealand. Such an amazing country. People often ask, if you were to live somewhere other than the States, where would it be? I’ve never been able to honestly answer that question. Until now. New Zealand. Hands down.
More on that soon.
Probably the most exciting thing that has happened this year is also the most recent. This:
More on her later as well.
So, overall, its been a wild 6 months.
I’ve flown about 90,000 miles so far this year. Which is complete madness. I’ve been at an airport every week for the last 13 weeks. Also madness. And I’m currently exhausted. Thoroughly exhausted.
See that funky little area just below the plane where the international date line goes all wonky? Yeah. If you ever want to know what my body/headspace feels like, it pretty much rotates around that nebulous of chaos and confusion. There. Now you know me a little better. And maybe understand me a little better. Or worry about me a little more. Or all of it.
I’m incredibly thankful for these past 6 months. They have been amazing, exhausting, life affirming, filled with tears, and pain, and questions, and joy, and love, and sorrow, and wondering, and wandering, and awkwardness, and boldness, and fear, and just about every other emotion possible.
I’m absolutely stoked for what comes next. I have no idea what that is and I can’t wait. I hope you all are having a year full of adventure and new possibilities.
And for those of you wondering, no, I do not work for the CIA or NSA or any other top-secret government organization.
I was on assignment for a project taking place on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, about 50 miles south of Sicily. I had just managed to pick up a Panasonic GH3 right before my flight and this was my first chance to play around with the camera. I had some free time and trekked down to St. Paul’s Bay (one of the locations where Paul (yes, THAT Paul) was rumored to have been shipwrecked) and immediately saw how easily it would be to become shipwrecked here. The weather was incredibly volatile, but I managed to catch a stunning sunset. 5 minutes after I stopped filming it began hailing in sheets. Unreal.
Camera: Panasonic GH3
Lenses (used w/ Kipon EOS-m4/3 Canon EOS to Micro Four Thirds Lens Adapter w/ Aperture Control):