The Customary New Year’s Sharing Of Positive Affirmations, Resolutions, and Life-Changing Realizations

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In going with what seems to be a custom of people around the world on this day every year – posting some enlightening, forward moving, positive thoughts on how I and others should live their lives in the new year – I thought I’d add my two cents as well (well, probably 5 dollars, judging by how I’m long this will probably be).

I thought back to a conversation I had just Saturday with a good friend of 4 years from a previous job.  We differ in age several years (me being younger than she is), but interestingly enough, we discovered we’re both at a place of limbo – trying to figure out what the next step should be – in our careers, personal lives… just overall. It seems to result from being burned out on life.  I think many reach this stage due to this reason if they’re paying attention to their inner selves and not simply living on auto-pilot.

Well, we both left that conversation agreeing that this year, we’d resolve to do only one thing (sidenote: I think that’s the problem with many people and resolutions – they have a long list of them).  That one thing was to “do something different”.  It sounded simple enough, but I can admit that anxiety and apprehension also mixed in with the excitement that I’d already felt for this new year.

I’d taken the Birkman personality assessment at my job a few months ago which tells you more about your areas of interest, everyday interpersonal style, and your needs and stresses day-to-day.  What the Birkman consultant made sure to note before he gave us the results is that the Areas of Interest results only shows what we LIKE to do and wish we could do or be involved with most assuming equal economic rewards, not necessarily what we’re good at.   As my brief blog description hints, my career involves lots of numbers, analysis, problem solving, technology, and programming and, not to toot my own horn, but I am extremely (insanely, really) amazing at what I do and am one of the most versatile engineers I know.  I can think back to some of the projects I’ve worked on and I truly amaze myself sometimes.  I can’t help it – I went to Georgia Tech… some of us tend to have an ego, rightfully deserved, once we get out (and yes, we unofficially call graduating from Tech “getting out”…  trust me, it is completely the right phrase for it – they should add “alive” after it).

However, I “discovered” that my top 4 interests in order with scores well above 75 on a 100-point scale were Artistic, Mechanical (working with my hands), Musical, and Outdoor.  Artistic even scored a 99!  What was also interesting is that Numerical (the analysis, problem solving, etc.) was third from the bottom with a score of 35.  Kind of weird being in an analytical group and not ranking very high in this area – good thing for my employment that, even though apparently it’s not my first choice of interests in equal paying jobs, I’m great at it… lol.

I say all of this to say that this assessment verified how I’ve felt for while.  I’m amazing at what I do and can do lots of things extremely well… and I truly love helping people with my skills in making things efficient and effective – it’s what keeps me motivated to work everyday.  But I was reminded that my love for the arts, music, outdoors and making things is where my passion truly lies.  I’d always known that deep down and really didn’t need an assessment to “discover” this about myself, but during my time off from work, I had a lot more time to reflect on that and realize it about myself yet again (the downside of long vacations from work – time to truly think about your job).

I realized I started down this path of “doing something different” with the start of this blog last fall and spending more time learning more about my love of photography.  It’s allowed me to be more artistic and be outdoors a lot more, since landscape, nature, and street photography are what I, now explicable, gravitate towards.  And I’d started back with music composition and lyric writing as well over the past couple weeks – another skill I need to develop more, but know that I have it within myself to express as I’d written, sang, and been a musician from 7 to over 17 but stopped for some reason.  Regarding outdoors and mechanical, I’d started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in the fall and planned to do more this year to get more of my hands-on fix in addition to helping others, in addition to traveling a lot more in 2013 to be outdoors as I desire.  I’d say that I’m already off to a good start and since starting these things, I’ve truly felt so much more better inside and I haven’t even made it to wherever I’m going with this yet.

I’m excited about 2013 because, although I have my career and what I’d originally considered just unimportant side hobbies, I can see myself doing something different and gravitating towards what really are my passions and not just side hobbies in the next few years by starting this year in the learning and refinement of my more creative God-given talents.  I’m quite anxious about stepping out of my comfort zone – I am still and will always be an engineer at heart – and admitting to myself and others I plan to learn from that I’m NOT great at these things.  That’s going to be super tough.  But I’m starting day-by-day to look forward to the journey – I’ll just have to get over those fears once and for all if I’m to ever see what I can really do in this area.

I’ve encouraged a few people since this past weekend to “do something different”, so I’m doing the same to you all reading this post.  Never mind whatever the end goal is for what you decide to do different – just do it and see where it takes you.  It might not take you anywhere – if that’s the case, then you can just try something else; you’ll always have enough time to figure it out (but that’s another positive affirmation and life-changing realization for another year).  Or it might take you somewhere you didn’t realize you truly wanted to be.  Either way, when you look back you’ll know that the journey truly was the reward.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should have taken this “customary” new year blog post and did something different by not posting it… hahaha.  I guess I’ll have to give myself a pass on this one – it needed to be said… as did all of the other New Year’s blessings and positive thoughts given by everyone else.    Happy New Year. 🙂

A Smartphone and Instagram: Is The Art of Photography Compromised?

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Right smack dab in the middle of CNN‘s homepage this afternoon was an opinion article by Richard Koci Hernandez, Emmy award-winning multimedia photographer, on mobile photography’s potential effect on the Art of Photography (link to CNN provided).  Since CNN thought to put this topic front and center, I thought it warranted a few more words than my normal posts.

As I’m also a lover of music and dancing – many a DJ are in my local circle of friends and acquaintances- it reminds me of the ongoing debate on the average Joe (or Jane) buying the latest iPhone software to make their iPads and iPhones into full DJ mixing decks to showcase their self-taught music selection and track mixing skills and considering themselves DJ’s.  You ask your average DJ of today about these iPhone DJ’s and you’ll likely start an argument on who’s “real” and who’s fake.  Which is ironic because many DJ’s that are 100% loyal to one of the earliest recorded music mediums – vinyl – and only conduct vinyl only sets consider themselves the “real” ones and those that spin music sets using CD’s, the now traditional format for conducting DJ sessions, as compromising the true art of DJ’ing.

I believe that smartphones and Instagram have their place in our times.  It offers to the everyday person what photography artists value so much about the skills they’ve gained or natural gift they were born with – the ability to capture and enjoy solitary moments and see the world with their own personal meaning.  It also allows the ability to share our view through social media with many known and unknown that may not see them otherwise.  To those in tune with the things that cause you to be swept away into the moment of a photograph, you will always recognize true, purposeful artistry in a photographer’s work compared to what may be distributed by the masses via smartphone cameras, Instagram, and other photo-sharing sites and tools.

At the end of the day, when it comes to music and dancing, as long as the music gets me moving on the dance floor, that’s really all I care about – the medium isn’t the most important thing to me.  And let me not be misunderstood – I take my music and dancing VERY seriously.  I will always be able to judge whether the one on the decks playing music that moves my feet (or not so much) treats DJ’ing as the artform that it is or not, no matter if they are using vinyl, CD’s, mp3’s, iPhones or other methods.  I’m certain that this also applies for me with photography as well.  I appreciate viewing photographed moments that others feel are special to them – I’d never want to take that away from anyone ever.  But the art of photography can, and in some instances, should be different from this.  With this, the method used isn’t as important – whether film, point-and-shoot, SLR, or smartphone.

The soul, passion, and gift of a true artist can never be hidden.  Nor can it simply be duplicated by just any other person with the same set of tools.  As long as there are people that know and appreciate this, I think the Art of Photography will be just fine for years and years to come.

Let me know what you think!