When we are younger, and we are always younger than we just were, we think we are on top of the world. We believe our future can be mapped out from our 20's to our 60's and nothing will come in the way to hinder the progress.
I remember my big plan. Work in the City, have a family, create wealth and retire before I was in my 60s. Plenty of time to sit back and relax once I'd had enough. Well, at least that was the plan. Nothing would come along to derail it. If that amount of naivety could be bottled, we'd have a business right there.
Honestly back before I was in my 30s being a photographer, a professional money earing photographer never ever entered the equation.
Then, as these things do, life happened. the bright lights of the big city started to dim. The endless challenge that was the return journey of both an early and late commute and a 12 hour desk day became empty and comfort crept in.
You know the .. if it ain't broke don't fix it vibe.
The deep sigh as you enter the towering office block that just says,
Another day, another dollar all in a single breath.
I stuck it out largely unhappy in soul less desk jobs that caused my light to shine dimmer and dimmer each day.
I force myself to remember those deep buried feelings when this, my photography career induces panic and fear. On the outside I may look like I have my shit together. That I know the way forward and that each and every quarter that passes, I open the shrewdly devised spreadsheet and tick off the half dozen or so KPIs from my dashboard and give my self a hearty pat on the back.
I swear nothing could be further from the truth, I am winging it each and every day. For the last decade or so I've lived without the master plan. The where will I be in my 60s milestones. Honestly it's been invigorating to live on a more fluid basis but now, well in a short while I'll be 52 so, 60 just isn't all that far away. I can't put of the inevitable fact that I'm, well I'm getting closer to it.
It's not that I feel old or hindered by it's approach. Sure my bones crack when I stand, my joints hurt, like all of the time and I tell the day of the week by the pills I take.
I ask my self am I where I WANT to be instead of am I where I WANTED to be?
and then I say
Jeez Jules you only have a short time left to create stuff in, stop the faffing around and get on with it.
With age comes wisdom and a part of that book of knowledge is the certain truth that you can just about, if you are lucky, plan a day or two ahead, no more. OK, that's a little short term but anything more that thinking beyond 9 - 12 months is a trap.
I know, and have known for sometime that the photography that I do wants to move on. To advance. To be more artistic, less documentary. Instead of living on websites and phones, closed away in a shelf in a book.
To be an artist, for that is what I am, is to have a dream. To make those dreams become real and to have them appreciated by others. Sounds shallow, it's not about saving lives in an operating theatre after all.
But stop, the purpose of art, is to remove the viewer from the mundane, the day to day, the stress of what is real. What may seem a frivolous pursuit is far from it.
As I have become much older, a little wiser and it would seem braver, I have come to a few conclusions.
I am an artist and as such photography IS art. If you care to argue that point with me I'm ready for you.
I create great work It not just me patting my self on the back, or my Mum telling me so. To be fair if you have met her you would know that my Mother can be my harshest critic and doesn't pull punches if she doesn't need to.
The art that I create deserves to be seen not just by the few but by many.
With age comes wisdom ...