As I sat here this morning thinking about how off-track I wanted to go with Sunday Morning Reflections, the quote above from a week or two ago on Twitter came to mind. A close member of my family wrote that to me saying "You've changed!" and it was meant in a negative light. So, while it hurt at the time, the more I thought about it, the more I realized from their perspective it couldn't be truer, but from mine, it's just the opposite.
The change that I'd agree with is simply choosing to live my life without everyone's approval. I remember my buddy, Matthew Jordan Smith talking about his earliest images as a professional photographer. He talked very openly about how he used to share them with everybody he respected looking for approval, until one day he realized he had to capture and create images that he loved. He had to find his own way. While that was in respect to his role as an artist, it also applies to how you live your life.
So, in November of 2007 when I decided it was time to leave a stressful, unhappy marriage, it was to live my life differently. Another milestone came along in 2009 when, after years of being envious of so many of you for the courage it takes to run your own business, I stepped away from Rangefinder Magazine/WPPI and became self-employed. One more milestone in 2011 - it was time to live closer to my Mom and Dad and move to Sarasota. Mom was fighting Alzheimer's, and Dad was 89. It was finally time to live around the corner from my folks, and lucky for me it was an idea Sheila supported.
And that brings me full circle to whether I have or haven't changed. The core of who I am has never changed. My values are the same. My passion for life is greater than ever. My respect for all of you and the challenges you take on every day has never changed. Even my love for my family hasn't changed - just how they allow me to express it.
The next time somebody says to you, "You've changed," take a second before you respond. My bet is that you haven't changed at all, but decided to take a different path than the one they want you on!
Wishing everybody a wonderful Sunday, time with people who are special to you and time to just appreciate those changes in life that have made you who you are. Always go for the eleven-second hugs and thank you for being here when you have so many choices of what to read on a Sunday morning!