– Walt Whitman
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
– Pablo Picasso
2020 is in full swing for most of us, the celebrations of New Year’s Eve already a distant memory. I normally start each year energized, eager to plan out my year and attack new goals with intent and purpose. My calendar fills with product launches, travel, presentations, podcasts, workshops, Skype sessions… and before I know it summer has arrived.
This year started out differently though. Our usual cold, rainy days were followed by snow, causing power outages and blanketing the sky with lifeless grey clouds. Productive planning sessions were replaced by contemplative periods, and most of my time has been spent writing, playing guitar, and walking the dog.
These have been slow days…. quiet days…. good days.
I initially attributed this different pace to my father’s recent passing, especially as it has only been 21 days since I delivered his eulogy, but more and more I am realizing that there is something bigger forming in my mind… a desire to do something special that is not yet defined.
The last few years have been incredibly productive: I have reviewed a lot of gear, written almost 300 articles, guested or guest hosted on dozens of podcasts, delivered hundreds of presentations and taught thousands of students. I cherish all of these things, with no intention of slowing down or stopping, so this desire isn’t because I am unsatisfied with the work that I am doing. It is, rather, a desire to do something new… something… bigger. I find myself constantly thinking of the quotes that I started this post with, especially this one:
“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
I have always felt that my “verse” was the work that I do with my students. I am a creator to be sure: I love crafting a wonderful image, creating a well written essay, or nailing a song on my guitar. But, I find more joy from seeing my students grow as artists. It is what I live for.
I am realizing now, however, that the Create Forever project that I participated in last fall set off a huge period of intrinsic reflection… reflection focused on things like service to others and personal fulfillment. I am sure that these feelings were compounded by many hours spent writing my father’s eulogy, where I spoke about his amazing life, his remarkable accomplishments, and his legacy.
So, it is time for me to write a new verse; not to replace what I am currently doing, but to build something new that can exist alongside my current work and contribute to this wonderful community of people that I am a part of. It doesn’t need to change the world, but it definitely needs to be meaningful.
I am writing this post while sitting in my favourite coffee shop. It is another rainy Vancouver day, and I am taking a break from reading a script that a film-maker and respected friend sent me.
The script is for a short film, an intensely personal project that tells the story of a loved one’s mental health struggles. The story is told with passion, with love, and with an artistic vision that I hope to one day achieve in my own work. In summary, it is brilliant.
This is a great example of what I am talking about: My friend is writing a new verse in his powerful play, and it couldn’t be more awesome. I am very proud of him. And, I am inspired by him as well.
Have you ever felt like this? Like there was something building inside of you… something that you just had to do or create? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments below, just as I absolutely plan on writing about my journey here on this site.
In the meantime of course, life goes on: Soon you will see new work on this site from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oregon. My street photography workshops in Vancouver and Toronto are filling up nicely, and I have many speaking engagements and weddings already booked. I am sure that Fujifilm will release new equipment of course, which we will definitely discuss here as well.
The powerful play goes on and on though, doesn’t it? And, it is time to write a new verse.
…what will it be? What will your verse be for 2020?