There's something enigmatically therapeutic about pencilling down one's thoughts in the wee hours of the morning. The house settles into a state of quiet listlessness that gives birth to the perfect environment for bringing forth what has been sitting on the edge of the mind during the day.
I think I need more days and nights like this. Most of my calendar is dotted so heavily with meetings after meetings, shoots, and just a plethora of socials, that it comes to a point where my entire body and soul craves for that downtime to be able to breathe and just catch up. Because life can run at warp speed, leaving our souls behind. And what is life, without the essence that makes us who we are right?
The other day, my dad told me to slow down. My driving that is :) I sometimes have a reckless tendency to press a little too hard on the accelerator and crave that unbroken run on the tar. Sometimes :) When he said that, I was editing this photo I had shot recently:
"How beautiful" I thought to myself, as I had my nose pressed against the camera during the session. You see, what actualized in my mind at the time was what an incredible blessing it is to have the time to step out with your loved ones, and go for a walk. To smell the fresh air. To run and play with their little four legged friend. For no reason other than just because. These two had the time to do that, and for a brief glittering moment. I was jealous. Envious. Because they had time. Time for each other. Time to just pause life for an instant and just take it all in. Time for the things that mattered in life. And I realized that I didn't.
It struck me at that point that similar to my dad telling me I should slow down on the road, I needed to slow down in life. Too often, the picture of myself perched in front of the computer screen with my fingers madly editing away, or scrolling my eyes across some website with someone else's pretty photos, or scrambling to reply every single email, was a familiar sight. "Just 5 minutes more" I'd often tell my husband. And by then, he had fallen asleep. There went another night where we couldn't catch up together on the day. To just talk. To recount. I'd often shrug my shoulders in my head with an almost apathetic mention "well, there's always tomorrow". Little did I know that the cycle would start again. And again. And again. And before you realize it, you've lost months (in my case), years (in other people's cases)....or in more drastic scenarios....your marriage? Or your children? And by then, it's too late to ask yourself "Was the success, the fame, the money all worth it?". Because ultimately, the answer is rhetorical and all you can do is slap your head silly for being so slow to realize it.
For myself, it got to a point recently where everything culminated in one big clash. Ju said I had to make a decision because something had to go. I was heading down a road where my pursuit to make our clients happy, and service them, and grow my business 110% was slowly squeezing everything out. I was losing little pieces of my soul along the way. And I didn't even realize it. It took my husband to point it out to me.... and I remember at that point, if I died tomorrow, I would have nothing much to show for my life except that I could take pretty pictures. It was then that I kind of crumbled. I kind of lost it. My hands were shivering, and I was crying. I'm a workaholic, you see. And a perfectionist on top of all that.
A long time ago, before I began this business, I made a promise to myself that I didn't want to be known as just Jenny Sun the photographer. I wanted to be known as Jenny Sun... the friend. The wife. The sister. The daughter. Because these are the roles that made up who I am as a person. These parts of my life, sprinkle themselves in the photos I take. And I realized that I was in danger of losing that.
Now don't get me wrong :) I am not putting down successful people :) I really respect and admire their dedication, hard work, and I know a fair number of successful people who are also wonderful parents, friends, and brothers and sisters. My point is: BALANCE. For what good is it to gain the whole world, if you are the only one there standing to hold it.
I think we as photographers and people need to stop saying "Just 5 minutes more", or "there is always tomorrow". It's so easy to be caught up with the growth of praise, and the pursuit of our dreams that sometimes it can swallow us. And we don't even realize the tide is over our heads til we are flapping our arms and floundering. Or til its too late, and we have lost something that dearly mattered. There is so much more to life than the photographs we capture. More than the latest gadgets and camera gear. More than the flashy car. More than that 6 figure income. So, today, I'd like you to think of someone who matters to you. Put down the mouse, or the phone. Shut that LCD screen. And give that "just 5 minutes more" to them :) I GUARANTEE you, you will be adding spoonfuls of happiness to not only their life, but contentment to yours. G.U.A.R.A.N.T.E.E.D. So much so I'm willing to make bets on it :)
I am thankful for every day I get to do this amazing job, but for now, I am imploring my soul to slow down. Or at least try to. I am very sure I will stumble and make mistakes along the way, but I'll be joyously wrestling with it every day, because I know it will be worth it. It is a higher pursuit that I believe with every fiber of my soul, will not only make me a fuller photographer, but a fuller person. Because I want to have those late night talks just recounting little nothings and big everythings. Because I want to wake up some days with my husband with no plans and nothing to do. Because I want to be able to take those long walks. Because I want to smell the roses. Just, well...because.----
ps: Don't start freaking out on me, I am still happily married! haha :D
Oh! and Picture post up tomorrow! :D