02.14.14 Me. Portland.
So this is 30…
I decide the instant I turned 30 Id take a self portrait for the project. In prepping to post this for the 365 Days of Leica I looked up quotes about turning 30; there are TONS! Most designed to assure the reluctant youth hidden in yourself that “things aren’t over!” But some more honest.
One I particularly thought was interesting is “[t]he boy gathers materials for a temple, and then when he is thirty, concludes to build a woodshed” - Henry David Thoreau
I think for too many people life is about becoming complacent. Your 20s are about being able to pay your bills, find ways to support yourself and become independent; typical life after college. Most people in their 30s settle for that “woodshed.” Settling is easier. Letting that flame that keeps you discontent with any thing but your dreams simply extinguish is like letting go of a large weight most people picked up in their youth and by 30 wonder why they are still holding.
In my own life, being a mix of fiercely pragmatic, and conversely hopelessly romantic, the two sides of my mind battle with the idea complacency; I think this truly is where my two parents intersect in my brain, the pragmatic butting against the passionate. (You may think one parent being one, while the other representing the other, but I think both of my parents themselves struggled with the conflict)
Returning to photography for me, and creating art, a few years ago, was a move against the “woodshed”notion to push for the “temple.” Not from a financial perspective, damn you cost of film!, but more so from a life perspective. Photography fulfills a part of me that is constantly pushing for more. Aspiring to be greater, to refine, to advance, but with no interest in any career agenda other than the fulfillment it brings to my life to create something.
Rejecting the “woodshed” has lead into an “adulthood” that has been some of the most fulfilling years of my life; I know that steps dangerously close to the many hallmark quotes of turning 30. For me 25 to 30 has been a exercise in learning what kind of adult I want to be. Of all the questions in my life, I think this has shaped up to be the most fulfilling to answer. The young punker in me reminds me of my goals as a youth, and the pragmatist in me pushes me to be grateful for what I have and to “just relax.”
The days, and really the modus operandi, that I find the most fulfilling, is to live directly between the two. Part of this project is for me to do both everyday.
I photograph my life to remind myself to be thankful for even the small things in it, but I push myself everyday to shoot so that Im always getting better.
Recently, probably like most of you, I watched Season 2 of House of Cards, and theres a quote in there that “To improve is to change. To perfect is to change often,” originally said by Winston Churchill.
Its kind of stuck with me since I heard it, and even after sifting through hundreds of quotes for this post, and the many other posts so far, I think that quote is the defining agenda for myself going into 30.
It reminds me to push to change to be better, struggle against complacency, rage against giving up, and never settle for anything short of your passions.
Derek Woods (thirty year old)