I can remember my mother telling me when I was a kid to be thankful for what I’ve got. At the time, like most things my parents said to me, it either went in one ear and out the other or I just didn’t get the deeper meaning. Everything was so superficial back then. I’d just nod in agreement, feigning understanding and move forward in my childhood philosophy that “be thankful for what I’ve got” simply meant I have a Star Wars Snow Speeder and little Jamie Fraser down the street didn’t cuz he was kind of a dick.
As an adult, I think being thankful for what I DON’T have carries more weight. I don’t have cancer. I don’t have a pile of debt. I don’t have I job I hate or a family I don’t want to be around. I guess I’m lucky in those departments. So what does a guy like me have to complain about? Nothing really… but I’ll complain anyway because that’s… just… what… people… do. No matter how good they have it, they’ll find something to bitch about.
My complaints are limited to those that would make most people think to themselves, Jeez, I wish I had HIS problems. I complain about the struggles I have with the direction in which I’m steering my life. I’m blessed with many talents. In fact, I’m certain I’m hated by some people because I’m one of those people who’s really good at almost anything I try. Fortunately, I’m also one of those people who really doesn’t give a shit what other people think of him (it’s a gift). I have big dreams and I’ve already set sail on the voyage toward achieving them. I’m not sure to which shores this ship will take me because, you see …I can’t sail!! Navigating the waters of MY future could weaken the legs of even the most experienced sea-bound explorer. Christopher Columbus would be heaving his mutton over the bow if he were to attempt to figure out my predicament.
Being good at a lot of things doesn’t mean it’s an easy go for me. In fact, I’d say it’s the opposite. I’m torn on which talents to focus. As an amateur photographer, I’m taking a lot of pics and I’m told that some are really good. But what direction should I be taking that aspect of my talents. Is professional photography my future? Should I fine tune that? Should I take photographs of nature? Should I photograph sexy women? Should I photograph urban sprawl? Commercial products? Real estate?? Maybe my future is centered on my musical abilities. Do I create music for film and TV? For albums? For elevators?? As an artist, should I draw for commercial design? Do I illustrate books? Do I become another Banksy? Maybe I’m destined to be a filmmaker? Maybe I’ll be another Luke Fontana (yeah, I had to look him up too – celebrity photographer). Maybe I’ll be the next John Williams (I WON’T be the next John Williams). Whatever it is I do, wherever my career goals take me, I don’t want to be mediocre at my craft. But I also don’t feel a need to be the best. My work will likely speak for itself. I just want to be noticed for my effort. I want my participation trophy.
Staying motivated is key. It’s also a problem for many people. I don’t care how driven you are, you struggle with motivation from time to time. I try to stay inspired by reading anything I can get my hands on. I’m not a huge fan of social media but while I’m Instagramming, I’m motivated by people who inspire (even if they don’t know they do). I’m influenced by those who mirror my craft and philosophies like survivalist @megan_hine, actor @jerilryan, photographers @dave_laus and @mvzlov (Sergei Muzlov), comic artists @jscottcampbell and @jimlee and filmmakers @tjscottpictures and @joncassar.
The path to my future is splashed by a gross lack of clarity. It’s not a straight line, but a course plotted out by an intoxicated bumble bee. Honey schnapps anyone? But I’m hoping as I get closer to wherever it is I’m going, some higher power will drop a few hints along the way and not be so damned subtle about it. No one has time for subtle anymore. If I need a course correction here and there I hope I’m alert enough to see the signs.
I’ve reached my mid-life and I’m completely cool with that. But what I can no longer afford is to waste time. I’ve honed my talents and long gone are the days when I was trying to figure out who I am. I realize now that life isn’t about FINDING yourself, it’s about CREATING yourself. I like what I’ve created. The rest is up to chance.