by Skip Cohen
Lately, the definition of "normalcy" seems to be a moving target. It changes every day as paranoia searches my brain, looking for a vulnerable place to sink its teeth. Life has changed, but the good news is that none of us are alone. We're all in this together, and for once, when you're worried, none of your friends are saying, "Stop being paranoid."
Sheila and I both have allergies. This time of year, we sneeze and cough on and off all day long. But even though Zyrtec is a regular product in our house, it doesn't change that split second of paranoia when I hear her cough. And, if I let it take hold, I'll go mad. Sound familiar?
But here's the great thing about the industry we're all a part of - we watch each other's backs. I now make it a point to phone a friend or two every day...just to check in. I'm also following everybody on Facebook. I'm taking a few minutes each morning to go through old photographs or albums - I'm following my own self-medicating prescription to get through this nightmare - looking in my rearview mirror. I'm not looking back with sadness, but optimism waiting for the good old days to return, and they will!
Two things kicked off my morning to get me on track today. Ralph Romaguera sent me this picture, and all his email said was "Memories." He didn't need to say anymore because it's our memories that are the foundation not to lose sight of how good life really is.
It was 2014, and John Sexton received the Lifetime Achievement award from PPA at the Imaging USA convention. That's me, John and Kenny Rogers. I was telling Kenny about how my son's girlfriend's most prized possession back then was the damaged gear train from his Hasselblad ELX that had come in for repair.
As Sheila and I were talking about at that conference, Facebook was doing its share in helping with great memories. Lori Nordstrom was wandering through the archives and hit the "like" button on a shot of the "Young Guns" program from WPPI in 2008, and it came up in my notifications feed. It was a classic moment of looking in the rearview mirror and then telling Sheila about the program.
A classic moment in that presentation was Mike Larson demonstrating how he'd set his camera on self-timer and then throw it 20 feet in the air to capture what then became a signature shot of the wedding party. Nobody had a drone back then!
And just a few weeks ago at WPPI, I caught up to three of the artists who were part of this program. And Facebook is keeping us connected and the friendships very much alive!
I have no answers on how our lives are going to change. There's no question; life is going to be different. Sheila and I haven't been out with friends for a few weeks. Just like you, we're hunkered down and doing our best to stay safe. But we're not willing to accept this is the new normal. The only way to keep the light bright at the end of the tunnel is to cherish where we've been and remember those days will come back.
So, I wish everybody a day of peace, good health, and appreciation for all your memories, especially the ones with photos attached! My suggestion for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs is still good with your "Q-mates," (people you're self-quarantined with.) And if you're a solo act, the next best things are Facetime and Skype - go for a cyber-hug. We will get through this.
None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward.
Because we trust. Because we have Faith.
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