My 30’s were exciting times. It was all about babies, bibs and dummies. The talk between friends ranged from our kid’s milestones to how to survive on minimal sleep without becoming psychotic and in our case, how to transport a year’s supply of nappies, bum cream and formula through the border! Not to forget a magnificent 12 years of living as an expat in Mozambique and Malawi, a life changing experience.
A few years on, I am back in South Africa and talking a very different talk. My babies have grown and I’m about to turn 40!
“Everything I was I carry with me, everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.” – Ma Jian
I am fast realising that I can no longer say that ‘one day when I’m big, I’m going to be an astronaut, a doctor or a famous movie star! I am realising that I am here being a fully-fledged adult! This is it! I’m rapidly heading towards the ‘middle-aged’ years and in theory – the prime and most productive years.
“It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for some day. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” – One Tree Hill
I was listening to the radio this morning and had another moment of ‘clarity’ as so often happens as the big 4-0 approaches! If making money was not an issue or your motivation, what would you do? I’m thankful that I’m doing exactly what I want to do with my life. The quote by Confucius to ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’ is real for me. When I started this blog 6 years ago, it was out of wanting a creative outlet and a platform for me to discover Mozambique and to share what I was experiencing and seeing there. Slowly and steadily, it became the vehicle that allowed me to discover and learn about photography and come to love it! It’s been a journey, one that is purely motivated by the love of photography and not by money. Taking the leap to do it professionally/commercially, however, has been the scary bit, the big leap that requires a fair bit of courage and bravery! Of putting yourself out there and opening yourself up to feed back, both positive and negative.
“In order to seek one’s own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life.” – Plato
I have also realised that as a photographer, where and what you spend your time photographing is what you become known for. If I pump out family shoots, then it should come as no surprise that that is the door that will be opened and stay opened. If I purposefully move in the direction that inspires me most – social documentaries, humanitarian efforts and landscapes – then those are the doors that will open. Both blogging and photography have allowed me to immerse myself in what I’m really interested in and it’s given me a window to my big picture; with a wide view of Africa and opening my eyes to different ways of life, different cultures, different beliefs -all thread together by humanity.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Spence Johnson
It’s much like life in general – the law of attraction. How we spend our time opens the door for more of what ever it is we are doing. I think this is another moment of clarity that has coincided with turning 40. Identifying the life you want and being selective. Actively choosing how you spend your time, with who and where. Turning 40 is about being ‘true to yourself.’ It might take being brave to change or creating boundaries, doing some deep soul-searching about the path you are on or the one you want to be on. It’s about taking some time out for yourself, pressing the reset button then doing.
With all that been said and done, I’ve got a good feeling about these 40’s! Who knew becoming middle aged could be so refreshing! All I need now is a holiday! Anyone with a nice holiday spot keen to have some photos done?
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
“The road you travel will remain as your destiny till you change the road.” – Mehmet Murat Ildan