Art Without Guilt

Most people I know, including myself, work a lot.

And the odd equation is, working more does not lead to leisure time. Ironically, the yield seems to be just the opposite: more things to do. Tasks are breeding microorganisms if left unchecked.

Sometimes we justify this behavior with the dream of retirement. This promise manifests differently among generations. Those before me believed that you work hard first, then retire. But the fly in the ointment are those pesky health issues that come with old age.

The generation behind me thinks more about integrating leisure time into their daily routines. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so let's live a little while we can. Of the two perspectives, I prefer the Millennial view.

First, I can't imagine retiring and moving to Florida. I'd be bored out of my skull. So my goal as a photographer and writer is to create now, and let the future take care of itself.

"Well, that's reckless," you may be thinking.

It's not like I don't have a plan. I've got a business, I've bought some real estate, and there's money in the bank. The rest of it I will figure out. To be honest, I've had lots of practice at that... like every month.

The art needs to happen now. Step one, move away from the computer. Step two, pick up a camera. Step three, go somewhere, anywhere. Step four, look at the world around me.

It's not hard. What's stopping us? I sometimes think that we work too much because we're afraid of the future. We want to be secure.

But long hours of tedious toil guarantees nothing. Eight years ago, when I was laid off from my full time job, I didn't know where the next month's mortgage check was going to come from. Today, I still don't know. Yet, every month for those eight years I've paid on time. 

And during those months, I've created thousands of images, explored the world around me, written more words than I can count, and watched my boys grow into young men. Yes, I was there for that. It's a show you don't want to miss.

My secret? When I feel a twinge of guilt while stepping away from the ToDo list, I acknowledge it, then I take another step, and another, and another, until it goes away. And it will.

Unwarranted guilt and fear are temporary emotions when we pursue what we know to be important. 

So, I'm taking part of my retirement today. I want to make something beautiful, breath fresh air, and exercise my body.

Then I'll get back to work.