I was hearing a discussion earlier today regarding how we lose our ability to do things for just fun at a certain age. When we drew pictures in school or as children, we were so proud of them and had a lot of fun doing it. At some point in time, most likely adolescence, we start feeling self-conscious and stop doing the things we think are fun and concentrate on the things we may be good at or are acceptable. Doing things for the purity of fun can often take a far back seat to other motivations. We then go through school and often start doing things for money or prestige which in the end can get us into that quiet desperation state of mind.
One of the aspects that I’ve worked on is getting back to those things I enjoyed and considered fun. When I was young, I really enjoyed photography and worked hard at a paper route to save enough money to purchase a camera. As I hit junior high and high school that fell by the wayside and then there was just no time. Boy, did that world pass me by and change a ton. I bought a nice digital camera to take some sports pics of my kids and started finding the love again. Then people started asking me for pictures of their kids and I started publishing my high school football photos as the exclusive gallery for my kid’s high school football program. What a blast that is and how much time it takes to comb through 900 photos taken during a game to get those 90 or so pics that express the game and are really special to the players and families. I also spent 5 hours on a sandbar on Thanksgiving holiday morning just taking pictures of a fall river scene as the sun came up and brightened up the brightly colored leaves. I found that passion and fun I had as a kid again and brings me great joy. It’s not my profession and may never be, but it’s something that kicks the quiet desperation out of my head.
My recommendation is that we need to think about those things that have brought us joy either as kids or adults and lean into them. Why not pick up a camera and start a photography habit? Why not join a chorus or barbershop group to start singing again? Get on a bike? Run? Walk? Paint? Whatever it might be I think it’s always a good idea to just jump right in and do it. Some of my pictures are just awful, but who cares, they’re free!