In editing the videos from my first hike to Amethyst Basin, I came across some clips I’d recorded which further discuss the motivation behind that hike and the direction I hoped my photography career would take. Sixteen months later, as I write this now, I must admit this has been difficult to watch. Though to my awareness I’ve managed to avoid contracting the virus thus far, the COVID pandemic has hit me pretty hard. It’s brought devastating financial consequence and nearly destroyed my business (the majority of my photo sales come from art shows) and the isolation has exasperated some personal struggles to take a major toll on my physical and mental wellness. I know I’ll be fortunate to get through with only these impacts. Others have had it much worse with similar battles while also falling themselves or losing loved ones to this awful illness. It’s just hard to watch now- and to listen as I speak these words with genuine determination, knowing that in the time since I’ve done nothing but fall further from my goals.
I had an exchange with a longtime friend last month who had emailed me to comment on the New Year’s Eve edition of my newsletter. She mentioned that some time ago she’d been introduced to the concept of selecting an annual word of focus, in lieu of a New Year’s resolution. I thought that seemed like a pretty great idea, gave it some thought, and wrote back saying that if I were to pick a theme for myself to concentrate on in 2021, it would be “growth.” I went on to explain that by growth I didn’t necessarily mean learning new skills, or becoming a better or different person (though self-improvement is always a goal.) But rather growing into the life that my heart always felt I should lead. I’ve always been an advocate of chasing your dreams, but have often existed within the disparity between my current reality and what I truly want to do with my life- what I hoped I might have the potential to become. So with growth I wanted to find the confidence to continue on what I believe is my intended journey; to carve out my place in this world as a writer, a photographer- and even if I don’t fully get there this year, I want to work to start closing that gap.
I share this publically, but perhaps more than anything it’s a reminder to myself. Because in spite of everything my spirit still pleads not to turn away from this path. Even if the words spoken in this video didn’t come out as heavy as they feel to me now, or as they belie much of the fear, insecurity and other turmoil raging beneath the surface; even if they only reveal a mere sliver of a larger story. The truths- my truths- are still out there. What my heart resonates with, where my passions lie, the impact I wish to have and what I feel called to be -in both a personal and professional sense. It’s still out there. Although it feels more distant now- as I see chances fading and sometimes becoming unattainable, it’s still waiting, if that’s in fact where my journey’s to lead; for me to grow into what I thought I could become.