“What’s Beyond?” :: Casco Bay, Maine
© Doug van Kampen, 2014. All Rights Reserved
Did you ever think about where life might take you in a year to the date? Have you ever looked back on what you were doing this time last year?
Our visual memories have an uncanny ability to take us back to a place we may have been and even fill in details that may or may not have been. Sometimes not having a clue is the best place you could ever possibly be. There is much to say in the wonder of not knowing where you’ll end up in a year from now and indeed, the prospect frightens even the strongest of wills. Not knowing what the future holds for me or what is”‘beyond the waves” brings me a great deal of solace. It basically shows me that the world is my oyster. An idea, much like a tiny grain of sand in the beginnings a pearls existence, starts incredibly small. Ideas rarely, if ever, turn into something grand. Some end in failure…some get around half way there before the zeal of it’s birth, its focus, and initial excitement of the endeavor winds to a close, leaving you feeling as if you’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.
There is much hope.
Giving up is so much more easy to do…right? But what if, what if only one of those ideas ended in something truly worth having a memory of; something so grand that there would be no need for the mind to fill in the blanks of what may have happened a year ago. Like a mariner guiding a ship beyond the horizon, there’s no way he or she could know what’s out there without actually doing it. So what’s stopping you?
Fear. Motivation. Money. Not Smart Enough. Not Mobile Enough (upwardly)
That last one (not mobile enough) is and will always be an excuse to me, even though I have full use of my faculties. A dear friend of mine, who is near an dear to my heart, never let a disease get in the way of his success, raising a family, and accomplishing his dreams (to which he is still working on). If having a boatload of money and the resources to spend it is your idea of success, then so be it. But the reality is that most of us, are perfectly happy waking up in the morning, going to work and doing what we love.
Those are all reasons (excuses more like) that I myself, have chosen to stop before I have started. The irony being is that I’m a mariner and have spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years at sea. Never knowing what may be beyond the horizon, I am amazed and full of wonder at what the sea brings with each crashing wave, each gale, and each storm I’ve weathered through the years. See this if you need to get a scale of how truly small we are in what makes up 70% of the earths surface – the ocean.
Your ideas are awesome, by your standards. You could get lucky and someone else may like them as well. But I’m guessing if you’re anything like me ,that thing that you do is not for anyone else in the first place; it is your very own little slice of therapy.
Last July, I forked over $1400 and purchased a Fuji X-E1 mirrorless camera making the goal for myself that I would spend the year [mostly] using that camera alone. Beside a few occasions where the format didn’t lend itself as a fit for the job, the exercise in creativity that a year has given my through the constraint of a single lens has been gratifying. I seem to have not made as many photographs, but the quality of my photographs seem to be more thoughtful and deliberate. Sure, there have been plenty of occasions in which I’ve desperately wanted my full frame camera…no need for explanation.
Basically, much like you, I’m tired of not doing what I want for what amounts to extremely futile and unsubstantiated reasons “To Not To.”
Here are some things that have made me the most successful at what I absolutely love doing (for me it’s photography, but it really doesn’t matter what it is):
- Wake up early: Even though I profess not to be a morning person, most of my deeply fond memories were made early in the morning before and during a sunrise. Early mornings are deeply spiritual and usually involve coffee and someone you love being around.
- Exercise: It doesn’t really matter what it is, just get the heart moving at 30% of your max heart-rate. Not that this one is habit forming by any means, but even a walk counts.
- Eat what you want, not what you’re suppose to (in moderation): I keep telling my Father that he can’t eat Ice Cream (capitalized on purpose) on a regular basis. He’s 75 and can’t hear so well from years of working on a dairy. I guess that explains the hearing part. But to be fair, he has had a lifelong commitment to #2.
- Don’t settle: I realize that money may be a prohibitive factor for most people, including myself. So with that, work with what you have and save your money for what you want and not what you can afford at the moment. You will be much happier creating with something you’ve had time to think about rather than something that just works for now.
- Be spontaneous: I can’t stress this one enough. Having everything planned out is nice, especially when you’re out to sea for months at a time and there’s no mail buoy out there (that was a joke…there really aren’t mail buoys), but the reality of it all is that letting your creativity drive your focus and what you do is where the magic happens. If you’re a planner, get outside your comfort zone and stop being so rigid!
- LISTEN the one you love (or those that deeply care for you): My wife is more responsible than anyone else in my life for talking sense into my sorry ass. It’s those times when I listen to her that she usually ends up saying, with a swift punch in the arm, SEEEEEE! Outside perspective is everything, especially when they have no idea where you want to go with your ideas. Suggestions are everything and can be extremely thought provoking for creatives.
There are many in my life that have been incredibly generous with there time and advice for me in the last year…you know who you are.
What’s out there beyond the horizon can sometimes be a blur. Steadying your course and sailing to what’s beyond, more often than not, brings everything into focus. Imagine your light beyond…
Set realistic goals. Be yourself. Create. -Doug van Kampen