Despite many things happening since my last one of these, I’m not yet ready to comment on the screwed up politics, the racial fiascos, or the religious nuts stories dominating the news.
Right now I need to maintain my calm, concentrate on my own goals, and . . . wait . . . I have goals?
It is the new year, and social convention dictates setting goals. Let me see . . . eating. That is one of the goals. I like eating; it should be an achievable and worthwhile goal.
Sleeping . . . I resolve to sleep more. Actually, I resolve to do so almost every day, and then I look up, and it’s 1:00 a.m. and we’re getting up in five hours. That means by 2: a.m. I need to be in bed, and trying to sleep.
OK, I kid a bit. People who might know me from the old days might be surprised to learn I’ve upped my 3-4 hours sleep per night; I now sleep 5-6 hours per night. That’s . . . let’s do the math.
Assuming an average of 1.5 hours more sleep a night, that is 365*1.5 = 547.5 additional hours lost to sleep every year (549 on leap years). No wonder I can’t get anything done! That’s almost an additional 23 days per year that I don’t exist, that I am dead to the world.
Crap! It’s conundrum, you see. I read people who sleep less than eight hours a night die at an earlier age. But if I slept eight hours a night, that’s an additional 66 days lost per year, for a total of nearly ninety days . . . three months each year spend doing nothing. Imagine, for a moment, how many Tweets and Facebook entries I could do in those three months.
Anyway, back to goals . . . writing . . . Still thinking I might do something with my writing. Maybe next year.
Photography . . . Not sure what goals I should have for photography. I imagine taking photographs should be in there somewhere as an important part of it, but beyond that, I don’t have the fire, the drive some people have to do much more than what I do now. Speaking of which, here’s a photo I took with my phone.
People sometimes tell me my photos are amazing (that’s not one of them). I tell them I’m just screwing around, and point them to people who really focus on the craft.
As proof, this is what can be accomplished when one dedicates themselves to something they love. In just three years Adrian went from someone with a new DSLR to having his photographs internationally recognized. The slideshow in that post is well worth watching. You can read more about Adrian HERE.
Let’s track his progress, shall we? His early posts bear some resemblance to what I do, have done, and will continue to do. Decent photographs with a woven narrative. Here’s an example. Good photographs, great subjects, interesting post.
Jump ahead a year, and you can see more focus on the craft, fewer photos, but of a higher quality.
Jump ahead another year, and he’s further honed his craft; from snapshots to art.
Jump to now, and he has a style that is his own, a vision beyond the snapshot, an eye for composition developed from practice and study.
He wasn’t ‘lucky’, or born with an innate talent. Other, of course, than to be passionate about something and willing to dedicate time to it.
I follow a few other photographers who work on developing their talent, in learning, in expanding their abilities. They take classes, they practice . . . they have a goal; a goal to improve.
My goal is to take photos.
Could I do what they did? What they continue to do?
Maybe. If I set my mind to something, I can usually make significant headway toward achieving it.
But I note something else, both about Adrian and other people who work on constantly improving. They join clubs. They make friends who accompany them on photo shoots, learning from each other. They plan outings with friends specifically to shoot this or that particular subject. They integrate in the local photography scene.
In other words, they integrate photography into their lives.
The same can be said for focused writers . . . they attend seminars, go to conventions, join writers groups. They integrate their writing into their lives.
Racquetball players socialize, coworkers socialize, neighbors socialize, people form support networks for their hobbies, join organizations, learn from each other.
New readers might not know this, but I don’t. My preferred method for learning is to study . . . to a point; to practice . . . to a point, and all on my own.
Someone once told me, with some irritation, that I get good at everything I try. Maybe. But I don’t get great. I can do a lot of things to what I hope is a slightly above average skill level. I’ve yet to find something that pushes me to go further.
I even know why . . .
I got pretty good at golf, but to get better I would have to work at it, and for what gain? I mean, I enjoy it, but the difference from a 10 handicap to a scratch golfer is a lot of work. Would I like to say I am a scratch golfer? Maybe. Would the game be any more fun? I doubt it.
I got pretty good at racquetball, but never took the next step . . . I enjoyed where I was, and the effort to get better would require me giving up other things.
Get the gist?
Writing, photography, shooting, bowling, archery, drawing, martial arts, fishing, hunting . . . more interests which I now struggle to remember; in the time they occupied my attention they took up significant portions of my life and involved significant effort.
Most passions do not outlive my attention span. I’m not even sure I can call them passions.
Make no mistake about it; I am not bitching or otherwise complaining, and it case it comes across as such to some, I’m also not bragging.
Some may yet call it false modesty, but I call it being a realist. One of the perks of learning something is knowing where one stands relative to people who really know their stuff.
I am content with where I am in many of the things I call hobbies, and have no need to present myself for more than I am; a tad above average — or at least I hope so — and that is good enough for me.
I do want to, however, point something out to people who say “I wish I could do this or that” . . . no . . . no, you really don’t.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.