Cindy Pitts Gilbert, Buford Weekly Illustrated September 2nd
Are you a planner, a worry wart, or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person? Are you that person who offers a warning from your experience or the person that says, “That will never happen to me”? We live in a world of uncertainty. The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain.
Everything is going along just great until you spill your coffee on your shirt before a big presentation. You rip your suit pocket before you meet with the boss, or you accidentally wear two pair of shoes that are identical, except one is blue and the other is black. Do you carry a change of clothes, “just in case?” Do you drive too fast or too recklessly, making your passengers gasp in all the air in the car? Have you ever drank too much at a party and maybe even lost your dinner hanging over the porcelain throne exclaiming, “I’ll never do that again”? How about that ridiculously fragile cell phone? Is the cover on or off? Everything will be alright, until someone screams at a spider, and hello, cracked screen, or plop, plop into the toilet it goes. I once picked up my phone from my desk, forgot it was plugged in, the cord yanked back, it literally, flew out of my hands and flipped right into my full cup of coffee; true story.
What is it about humans that we naively believe that all the terrible things that happen are not going to happen to us? Experience has a lot to do with it. I’m not suggesting living in a bunker and not living life. I am just suggesting that perhaps taking advice from those who have “been there, done that” might be advantageous to those who haven’t, and more importantly, shouldn’t. I will admit I did things when I was younger that I now know were unwise. Did I listen to anyone? Probably not. I am now more cautious in my car than my children would like because my car once sailed across the highway into ongoing traffic all because of a thin sheen of water on the road. Those same children that didn’t heed the words of their wise mother have learned the hard way: it’s all fun and games until it’s not.
We walk through this thing called life making multitudes of mistakes and hopefully, yes, I said, hopefully, we grow wiser and learn a lesson. There are, of course, those people you know that seem to be a bit more stubborn than others about this lesson thing. We learn very young that if we touch the stove it may be hot and burn us, but some children may touch it a time or two more than others. It’s a personal journey, though, isn’t it? We can’t seem to save many the benefit of our mistakes, or can we? The lucky ones become “the elders,” those wise ones who survived the carelessness of not listening to their elders. We shake our heads at the young and offer words of wisdom and warning from our own mistakes while the young shake their heads believing that the elders know nothing. “OK, grandma,” they say. “I’ll be careful,” until they are not, the fun is over, the “I’m sorry” is said, and the lesson is either learned or not.
Could it be that there are no accidents? Maybe accidents are only incidents due to a lack of focus and experience. To be a great photographer you have to learn how to focus a camera. You can either do it yourself by investing a lot more time than you’d like into figuring it out yourself, or by learning from a skilled professional. Make life easier on yourself, learn how to focus your camera of life from someone who knows how to get a clear picture of the consequences before you shoot. And try to remember, life isn’t digital. It’s 35 millimeter film; once you shoot, there is no delete.