Every year at this time I look back a little and then get totally pumped over what's ahead. It was ten years ago I was preparing for my last WPPI convention. It was the biggest conference WPPI had ever held. John Popper and Blues Traveler were the band for the Nikon sponsored party; Rangefinder Magazine was over 350 pages; the WPPI ShowGuide was over 100 pages, and everything was pointing to the largest attended convention in professional photography.
On April 1, 2009, after a series of absurd confrontations with the owner of the company, I decided it was time to head out on my own. It was 2009, the economy was in the toilet, and so many people, including the guy looking back at me in the mirror, thought I was nuts.
The biggest lesson I've learned is that every change in our lives, whether overwhelming or minor, all have their own personality, and a path loaded with the potential for growth. While some of them are messy, they each add to the richness of our lives. Learning to appreciate the possibility that exploring the unknown brings doesn't happen by itself. For me, it's thanks to Sheila, a circle of incredible friends and an industry I've grown to love dearly.
And *poof* here comes the point this morning. It's Valentine's Day this week, and we're all out looking for that one card that says it all. Ever notice how you can always find the card that says exactly what you're feeling? That's because we're all connected by so many of the same feelings, including those of the writers at Hallmark! We're all chasing similar versions of the same dreams - of love, companionship, success, and happiness.
Learn to accept your fear of the unknown. Every change in your life, whether outside your control or self-inflicted, is an opportunity to soak up another lesson. And, just like those things you've learned with a camera in your hands, you're capturing your life with your brain, and your heart and shooting "neuro chromes" - no camera, just memories to appreciate.
Wishing all of you a day filled with love, peace and an appreciation for everything and everyone who's helped make you who you are. There is no escape from the growing pains you had when you were a kid, they just changed and now involve your heart and soul. Cherish them, because each time they help make you better, stronger and help you on the journey ahead and wherever it's taking you. And as always, go for those eleven-second hugs with the people most special in your life!