Stripped back

When shooting an event, my head is 95% focuses on one sense, sight. Seeing what is happening around me, noticing the light, working with or around it. But I do keep an ear out for what's going on as well. When there is so much happening, in so many places I need to be able to get a sense of what may be happening just out of sight. A perk of shooting the Link Festival was the moments of inspiration that came with so many of the snippets I heard.

The rad Shavani Gupta, a speaker and coach who helps people unlock trapped potential, was leading a group discussion outside, by the Yarra. As I pressed the shutter, one of the participants asked a question about balancing many priorities in a busy world. Shavani mentioned the old maxim that you can do many things in your life, but only three things well (at a time). Whilst I've heard this before, as someone who has been described as a puppy dog based on my desire to do everything, all of the time this was something of an anathema to me. Yet, the setting, the conversation I was observing and my focus on shooting for the rest of the day brought it into stark relief. It became something of an anthem, something I had been searching for over the last few years, but not found. I went away from that moment and mapped my priorities. What am I trying to achieve, and how am I doing that. From there, I could priorities three things for the next six months:

  • Photography
  • Relationships
  • Paying the rent

I've cheated a bit here. For me, health and wellbeing are a given. I cycle everywhere and for recreation, to clear my head. This is just something I do, not something I work at. I have also valued relationships in general rather than focusing on a single one. But photography, relationships, rent are things that are at the top of my priorities and I can put energy into right now. I'm targeting these for at least the next six months, maybe longer. Then I'll reassess. There are solid reasons for my choices:

  • Photography is my expression. I've long known that I see the world in a unique fashion and photography is a way for me to express that. Recently, though, I've noticed that if I'm not creating I get sad and grumpy. That affects the rest of my life and holds me back. Driving photography, improving my skills, creating, making expression a central part of my life improves my overall wellbeing. 
  • Without relationships, I'm boring and bored. My friends and partner stimulate me and drive me forward. 
  • For a while I've considered giving up my day job and focusing on my passions full time, but I realised that weekend that I can't afford to do that. My day job is a luxury that allows me to indulge my passions, drive my photography and have the time for relationships. It also pays the rent.

A month later, this idea of three things to rule them all, keeps coming back to me. Whenever I make a decision to join in an event, to try something new, to have a night at home, I ask myself where does this fit into my life. Does it fit one of my three priorities? If yes, great! If no, I'll make a note of it and see if it's still there in six months time.