If you’d met me 25 years ago, you might not have liked me very much.
In my twenties, I was so, so angry. I was, like, the angriest girl in the world. I was sort of bitter about some things in my personal life; I wasn’t outgoing at all. I was a bit selfish, and I think I was a pretty crummy stepmom. I was kind of snobby too, and I just didn’t get along with other people.
You know that one person in your office who always goes to lunch alone? Who never gets invited to the group lunches? Yeah. That was me.
When I was 27 years old, I started to change. Not on my own, of course, but because of something my then-boss, Stuart, said to me. What he said had a profound impact on me, and I started to change. Not just superficially; I’m talking hard core basic personality change.
When I was 35 years old, I met Mr. Susan (the sweetest, kindest person I’ve ever known), and so more changes for the better came along. We used to have a joke in the family: “Susan isn’t a people person; she’s a dead people person.” It’s true. We said that.
One day while watching “Wife Swap” I realized that I should do more for Mr. Susan, and actually, more changes. I’m dead serious. One episode of “Wife Swap” made me realize that I could be a much better wife than I’d been. (Note here that I think I was already a pretty fucking good wife by then, but I saw room for improvement. That’s the point of that last part: I was open to change, improvement, and I made it happen.
So why am I telling you all this and even more importantly, why am I illustrating this kinda bizarre confession with photos of a very sweet, very happy family?
Easy: to tell you how much I love my work; how happy it makes me and how it makes me a better person.
See, you think that whatever point in time you’re at, that’s it. You’re grown and stuff, and you think there’s not much more you can learn. But when you hit your 50s and you’ve already got all this knowledge in your head–and more importantly, in your heart–you realize that that old saying about the wisest people knowing they know nothing is really true. It’s really, really true. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know shit.
For the past five years I’ve been working for myself. Again. The first few times I did this (in different professions), I wasn’t all that successful (by certain measures). But for some reason, this photography thing sorta worked out for me, and people like my work and they pay me to do it, and that just blows my mind. Everyday, every time I’m looking at some adorably happy family through my viewfinder, it occurs to me that “hey, this is my job now, and people pay me to do this” and it fucking blows my mind.
My path to happiness, both within and without, has been long and zig-zaggety, as most people’s are. I don’t really have any particular lesson or point I’m trying to make here, other than to just say, I acknowledge you. I acknowledge that you make me really happy, and I love meeting your families and sharing in your joy and meeting your pets and hearing their stories. I love seeing you drop your guard and start loving on your dog, or your baby or your girl, and how you totally forget I’m even there.
I love how when I give, you take, and when I take, you give.
I love you. I love all of you. But right now, my heart belongs to Jonah and his parents, Audrey & Dave, because, well…look what they made. Just look at that!
Blows my fucking mind.