“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
Today I’m sitting alone in a coffee shop listening to the weird indie music I’ve been into lately and sippin’ on hot peach tea. It’s about 10 degrees outside here in the dairy land, and I’m not envious of the tiny flakes floating from the clouds at the moment. They’ve gotta be chilly.
I will admit, though, that soaking up heat from the fireplace to my left and watching flurries just beyond the window in front of me is about as picture perfect as it gets. I am lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places. I’ll pinky promise you that.
I’ve called this city home for about two months now and it has been a little slice of a dream. Before I moved, I always felt that I was meant to be somewhere else, but never knew exactly where. Here feels good. Here feels like home. I like who I am here, and that came with a conscious choice to open myself up to new possibilities.
I think we often crave a new environment in hopes that it’ll change us. Fun fact: I’ve lived in a couple different places and it never really happens. Sure, we can be influenced by an environment, but the common denominator is us and unless we make the active decision to change something inside of ourselves, things will probably remain the same around us. Nothing will actually change unless you shift your perspective. It’s like looking into one of those old View-Master toys. The scene may be different on each reel you put into it, but the picture doesn’t change unless you PULL. THE. LEVER (*cue Yzma yelling at Kronk*).
I decided to pull the lever. I decided to change my view. I wished to be optimistic. I chose to take advantage of every opportunity. I forced myself not to be afraid of change. I chose to put myself first. I wanted to go explore and find ways to grow.
Speaking of exploring, one of my favorite things EVER is wandering about somewhere on my lonesome. Is it weird that I’ve kinda been craving it? A couple weeks ago, I hopped in my car and started driving and found myself in the cutest neighborhood. I wandered around the block and stepped into an artsy little decor shop. The man inside had the coolest style, like a spitting image of the 1970s I always wished I had been born into. He was kind, asking about my hometown and career. We started talking about a vintage Polaroid camera sitting on the shelf that was for sale. He spoke so passionately about it, telling me about where it had been and how much it was worth, but I think the most valuable part of our conversation was this:
“I like practicing film photography because although digital photography is fun, there’s so much room to edit and adjust afterward to create the perfect image, so you can be a little lazy when you’re out shooting. It’s almost as if we’ve lost the art of actually photographing. With film photography, you only have so much film, so you have to use it wisely. Every shot counts. There’s no Photoshopping that film either, so you are forced to stop and capture something beautiful right away in that moment.”
Are you shook? I’m shook. Or maybe I just dig too deep into metaphors..?
But actually, this sat with me for a few days after I visited. I think he was right.
When I think about my own life and what I do every day, I catch myself forgetting to live in the present. So much of our lives are based on planning and anticipating what’s next.
What do I need to get done tomorrow?
I need to study for this big test next week.
What’s going on this weekend?
If this project doesn’t turn out well the first time, I can always adjust it later.
I often have to remind myself that there are no edits, no Face Tune for real life, if you will. We’re only given a certain number of frames, so why not carefully create something beautiful with them? Sometimes the best moments are captured when we take the time to look through the lens and make it count while we have the chance.
I’m not sure if you got anything out of this, but I guess I’m trying to say that perspective is so valuable. If you’re not lovin’ what’s happening, try looking at it from a new angle. Step outside of your comfort zone. Be patient and find joy in the time you have. Go out and drive to a new coffee shop, sit next to the fireplace, and have a cup of tea (or a mimosa or 5). Or maybe step into a quirky decor shop and have a good conversation with a new friend.
Soak up the now. It’s time to make your masterpiece, baby.