"When someone says you've changed, it simply means you've stopped living your life their way!"
It' Sunday morning and couldn't be more typical. I wish I could sleep past 7:30 am, but it's never in the cards. Sheila's still asleep and even Molly the Wonder Dog is out cold at my feet, occasionally chasing rabbits in her dreams. What a kick it would be to know what your dog dreams about!
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.
"If nothing every changed, there would be no butterflies."
It couldn't be a sappier quote this morning, but the butterfly analogy is so on the mark. Think back to some of the most challenging changes you've made yourself over the years. Now, think about what came out of those changes. For me, while sometimes the process of change was difficult, the final results have taken me down a different path, always in a positive direction.
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!
And to Sheila, who's been with me through so many milestones over the last nine years, you've become my very best buddy. You never stop helping me discover new paths. Wake up soon and I'll make breakfast! LOL
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!
9/25/2016 09:44:38 am
Well put my friend. I don't get to sleep past 6 most days with my crew...six years eleven months and three weeks until I launch on my own voyage....The Skip's Crew is full of inspiration..thanks for being yourself!
9/25/2016 11:32:55 am
Some never accept change and leave their fate to the wind because they can't muster the courage to create change; only react to it. They fear change, loathe its presence in their life and live for decades in an unhappy, unsatisfying environment to avoid it. I get it. But I don't respect it or those who just exist in life rather than live their life. I realize responding or reacting to change is a choice and I acquiesce that choice in others' lives is not my business. That said, our pursuits as artists require difficult - even painful - decisions and most of those revolve around that word 'change.' It's not simple. It's not easy. It is necessary. I know that troika first-hand, believe me. And believe this: it is worth the pain and problems in creating change as we're talking about the pursuit of your happiness. Life is too short to settle for living up to other people's expectations of what your life should be ...
9/26/2016 11:14:16 pm
I never heard it put this way before but I agree.
Thank you for this. It is beautifully expressed and so absolutely true. I myself am in a similar place to where it sounds like you may have been nine years ago, and I am embracing change and choosing to be myself...on a different path. In fact, I feel more like myself now than I have in years. The butterfly quote may be sappy, but I have always loved it. My fourteen year old daughter found it on a small slip of paper in my office and sketched a beautiful art piece for me with the quote in it. There's truth in it. Change is good. It allows us to grow. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. :)
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