My thoughts for the New Year? Continue to take care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually and avoid people and things that don’t add anything to my quality of life…which I graciously extend to you and yours throughout the New Year…
What is it about nostalgia that some of us cannot jettison? A valid concern is that the yearning makes a mess of being-in-the-moment. That same yearning can deny future possibilities when it turns to ruminating. For some, nostalgia can magnify preoccupation. Not good.
Yet there are fragments of nostalgia that remain fade-free. Like writing/journaling and photography, riding a sport bike can be solitary, well, a choice by many, including myself. Certainly some of my own experience aboard two wheels can be marked as memorable [and mostly positive].
As is fitting this time of year, nostalgia tends to swell, though more specifically with auld lang syne, those days of fond remembrance, of days spent from far-off times or even those more recent. It matters none because an experience that generates a fondness or even a light-hearted sense of joy is timeless. The decades can sometimes feel “like only yesterday.”
The distinction I’m trying to make is that auld lang syne speaks of a heart-felt time devoid of regret and rumination. Isn’t that what probes our memory at year’s end? What have we forgotten? Whom have we forgotten?
My school of thought is that these fade-free capsules of nostalgia are not containers of events that could’ve or should’ve been. No, auld lang syne is more about preserving good things which matter: lessons learned, people who’ve made a difference, the unconditional, enduring quality of gratitude and love.
Before I make a mess of this post, I’ll let the poet Robert Burns weigh in. He’s the Scot who made this poem, this inimitable song, about as timeless as anything found in life. Click here.
There are 2 places where solitude, a camera and myself synchronize: the ocean and the woods. Maybe it’s a condition borne of meditation and yoga though the common denominator in all of this remains to be solitude.
These are the places that help me roam without getting lost in the all-too-many distractions of work, deadlines, demands, expectations and disappointments. The same places also help me acknowledge my fortunate standing in life and when I do recognize it, a lot of negativity bias dissipates more easily.
Because I’m more of a “night-owl” it’s somewhat easier for me to take photos towards the end of the day. Actually, the later part of a day is when my brain starts to ramp up. Most of my images are serendipitous, which by the way is, how a lot of photographs become interesting.
The space between me and the street below stands 25 floors. All the views I see are through a thick piece of window glass. None of our windows open, not even a crack. That’s a good thing because if these large windows were to open, I suspect we would see more bugs and some birds in our work space.
Dealing with glass not quite crystal clear and uniform is far better than trying to deal with insects and pigeons…well, for me anyway.
Am I the only one–if not one of the very few–that doesn’t object to the return of “Eastern Standard Time” in New England?
I refer to this change as back to “real time” much to the chagrin of most everyone around me. There are plusses and minuses–like everything else–but for me, this is not a big deal and I for one like that extra hour of sleep.
Chasing the light with a camera in hand is very therapeutic for me. The time of day, whether early or late, contains a salve that takes the edge off my depression.
Light can be a fantastic muse. It’s never exactly the same yet it can provide similar if not familiar feelings for one person to the next. I love chasing the light…
Contrary to the expression, “it is what it is,” I’m reminded that many things in our day-to-day lives aren’t what they appear to be. What it is, is often isn’t.
It comes in many forms, but this spectre of self-doubt, worth, value, meaning, purpose,etc. is more apparent now than ever. We may not say or admit to it, but I sense many from all walks of life are experiencing an existential crisis.
We may not feel smart enough. Or attractive enough. We may think, “why don’t I have more of what he/she has?” The forces of social media, the rise of celebrity status, the persistent beat of consumption, the increasingly divisive discourse of “I’m right, you’re wrong” all contribute to this hunger for meaning and purpose.
But the larger question shouldn’t be, “why are so many things messed up?” Ask yourself, “what can I do to make life a little easier for someone else?” At the end of every spinning class, our instructor encourages us with these directives: believe that you can do what you plan to do and if you want to feel good about yourself, do something good for someone else.
However I feel and wherever I am, I try to find solitude. It’s a quiet that renews me because I can be myself. Solitude encourages me not only to reflect, but to jettison the ill-feelings of comparisons and expectations. The Rolling Stones, rock classic, Satisfaction, is so very telling:
“…When I’m watchin’ my TV and a man comes on and tells me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me…”
I’m not equating isolation with solitude, as the former suggests being devoid of sensory inputs. No, this is about a mindfulness that keeps at bay the disquiet of our modern life. Turn off the radio, the TV, the podcast, et al. Though it may be easier–if all too obvious–to find solitude when completely alone, that is unnecessary. Solitude can manifest itself anywhere. Don’t you find solitude at a social event [even at work] when you can momentarily remove yourself to a space that doesn’t invade your thinking and feeling? Step away, even for a moment, to find some quiet, some calm, some level of respite.
We’ve yielded to wanting impressions that don’t add genuine value to our sense of self: number of likes, tweets, comments, “friends”, postings and so forth. Allow yourself to be your own best company.