For some strange reason, God has dealt me some rather challenging cards to ride this season. I have to admit, they haven’t been easy. These last few weeks, work has been on my schedule every day. No, really. When I wasn’t shooting, I was meeting people. When I wasn’t doing that, I would be editing. When I wasn’t editing, I would be replying emails. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was trying to play out the other roles that I embodied in life – wife, friend, family member. And being sick in between it all. There were moments while I was sitting in front of my computer, doing so many things at once, that I realized I had stopped breathing for a few seconds. Literally. I had to consciously tell myself in those moments - stop, breathe. And breathe again.
A few nights ago, Ju and I were doing grocery shopping (he was wanting to find some german beer to appease his nostalgic love for what he discovered in Frankfurt recently, and I was on the hunt for organic food that I could eat for lunch - no more takeout!!), and he picked up a tiny little potplant that had black seeds sitting on its leaves, saying to me "Jen, I think you should get this for your office room".
In protest, I said "no way! that thing has disgusting black things on it and it looks like they will hatch into gross little insects that will infest my workspace!" (okay, so they were seeds, not eggs :P)
"No it won't!"
This banter happened several times before he remarked "look!", pointing to the tag that came with the little green shrub. It said something along the lines of:
This plant helps to purify the air around you. Add a few teaspoons of water each day.
I thought that's cool! A plant that helps me breathe better. And in that instant, I took the tiny little thing home with me. It adds a little life to this manic corner of my world.
I think we as photographers, especially in peak season when everything runs around you like a wild tornado, when you love your work and the people you work for, we run the risk of sometimes letting work becoming our life. And the line defining and dividing the two become very blur. And well, life just sits there on a lonely shelf wondering when it can come out to play again. I see alot of my industry friends saying to me how busy they are, how tired they are, how much they have to do, the constant and persistent late nights they have to put in, and sometimes it makes me sad because of how much of their life revolves around their work. I am sometimes tempted to tell them to stop, breathe and to live life a little. We're only young once. Every day we don't spend with our loved ones, is one day less. What if it is the last? What if our kids grow up, or our friends have grown into life, and we realize we have missed most of it? I'm a firm firm believer that a balanced photographer, makes a better one. No one thinks their best when they are tired and burnt out, right? ;) And I believe if you are living and loving life, and nurturing the relationships around you, it will show in the pictures you take :) Passion and love can't be hidden :)
So now, the green little shrub doesn't just help to clean the air in my always stuffy office (I don't like opening the windows - its a habit I've taken across with me into adulthood from young when my mum would keep the windows closed to prevent dust from coming in. Nowadays, I'm just lazy :P), but it is there to remind me to breathe every now and again. To take time out, PLAN TIME OFF, spend time living life every now and again, and remember that there are more important things than the work we do and the pictures we take. From the very small to the very big.
To end with, I want to share with you an incredibly beautiful song I found recently by Kyler England: You Wait For Rain It made my heart and ears very happy :)