In my last post, I mentioned that I’m trying to make a few changes in my life & in the process, I’ve learned something about myself. I’ve never really been an embracer of change. I think it’s because I grew up my entire life in the same home. Even when my dad built a nice, new home & moved to the country outside our tiny rural Missouri town, I stayed at my grandmother’s. Not because I didn’t want to be with him. Au contraire. But I had it good where I was. Not many children are lucky enough to live with two of their grandmas, one who lived to 87 and the other to 97, their entire childhood, yet still maintain daily contact and meals with their dad. I was that lucky. I loved my dad’s house and I loved my dad’s new wife & daughter but I also loved that I was in town where my best buddy could come pick me up in her Pontiac T1000 to cruise the town. (One end to the other took about 45 seconds IF a few people stopped in front of you to turn off the main drag. The town was pop. 1893 or close to that.) I could hang out at my dad’s studio from school’s end to dinnertime & enjoy every minute. Not to mention, another best friend lived right behind me on the same block, separated only by an alley & had a swimming pool. Our neighbors were wonderful. The boy next door was my secret best friend because we loved each other as friends, but I was a couple years younger and a girl at that, so, of course, he could only play with me when no other guys were around. I got that. We got each other. I was unhappily forced to embrace change when we went our separate ways in life and he died a young death at about 28. I miss him. I have regrets. But that’s an entirely different post. I grew up with routine during my childhood and I loved it. The comfort factor was amazing. I won’t go into my younger grandmother also guilting me to stay at her home but it was a factor as well. I think I might have stayed anyway. I was blessed to be surrounded with people who loved me no matter where I was.
I attended the same school, kindergarten through 12th grade. I learned to write with most of the same kids that I danced with at my senior prom. Our school was all on the same campus, connected by walkways. It promoted a feeling that we were all part of the same school family journeying together on the path from K-12. Teachers rarely changed and when they did it was because one retired. When Ryder started public school here in Little Rock, I was hesitant that she wouldn’t have that same experience. And she hasn’t, but her experience has worked for her & I like that she is tough and independent enough to not need that stability & comfort. I like that she has always embraced making new friends. I like a whole lot about my daughter & yet sometimes I think she was born who she is and I have had little effect on her turning out like she has. She’s a good one – we will keep her. Never mind that while I’m writing this, she is driving me nuts with annoying texts. I’ll overlook it. We switched the boys to private school in 5th grade (& we gave Ryder that option in 9th – it wasn’t for her). There are many, many reasons we switched, but one of them was that we wanted them to have a consistent experience at a school that was on ONE campus. It’s been a great decision. I worried about them having to embrace change and they did it without a hitch.
The toughest thing I’ve had to deal with since moving here is my friends moving away. Is your husband looking for a job in a new town? If so, friend me. I’m your girl. It essentially guarantees he will be hired. I’m secretly a recruiter with clandestine ways of operating. I have seriously had AT LEAST seven friends move since we have lived here. (Eight if you count the nutjob that wasn’t really a friend at all but left me wondering what I could possibly have done to her other than what she said I did, which was forget to offer her some birthday cake.) That’s right, I said SEVEN friends. And these were GOOD friends. Friends that my children & I hung out with often. I will give you this. Two of them, including the latest to go, are only an hour away. And with today’s technology & visits back to Little Rock I keep up with all of them. I hope to stay in touch with my latest friend that’s moving as well because she, coincidentally, inspires me to take things as they come. She helps me embrace change, see that things aren’t as big of a deal as I might think they are & occasionally even makes me realize I’m just worrying about something for no reason. She can give me advice and make me feel confident, yet stupid, for not thinking of it myself. All of these friends fill a need in my life, whether it’s a need to vent because we’re just alike & know the other one will understand, a need to be creative, or someone to share a laugh with. I love them all. And selfishly, I never want to let them go where they’re going. Except for Ms. Birthday Cake.
My business is changing too. I am a professional photographer & if you don’t embrace change as a photographer, you will be left behind. With the advent of digital, people’s standards have lowered. There are people “just getting started” giving mediocre or just plain awful work away in order to get clients to practice their craft on. Photoshop has had the awful effect of everyone wanting to look perfect. It’s the poor man’s plastic surgery. But it takes time & many of the newbies never consider that their time is an expense that should be factored into their prices. They just like to play around in Photoshop as a hobby. Thus, they don’t charge for their hard work & clients think they’re getting a great deal. I had a difficult time accepting this change to our industry because when I started, you exposed a roll of film correctly, according to your light meter, presented the previews and requested the lab do a bit of retouching to the blemishes. There was no liquify tool to decrease the width of your hips. There were rules for portraiture and posing. Print competitions at regional meetings were the best of the best. Not anymore. I’m closer to embracing it every day though. Digital has it’s positives, for sure. I still enjoy my job and I try to stay on top of what’s current, yet offer simple classic portraiture to those who still want it. And in the South, believe me there are clients who still want it. I have also changed my business to specialize in children, families, pets and women. Pretty much, portraiture in general. No weddings, no anniversaries, no sports, and as my dad is fond of saying, no “monkeys humping a football”. I’ve always had just the right amount of work to keep me busy with three kids and a husband who travels off and on, especially in the fall, which is my busiest time. I’ve never needed a website because “word of mouth” has worked just fine. I’m changing that too. I’ve been working on an “identity” for my business. I have to admit, it’s kind of a fun process. This is change I’m embracing. Plus it will keep me busy with my friends away in far (& not so far) places.
We’re changing our house slowly too. In fifteen years, most of the upgrading we have done has been the boring stuff. Electrical upgrades, new windows, plumbing, new heat/air, etc. We did add a new roof and redo an entire bathroom. But it’s time to do more. It’s time to really think about what we have and get rid of things we don’t need. Change, again. Time to be less sentimental and more practical. Time to commit to paint colors and get stuff done. Time to change my way of thinking in so many ways.
I know that I have many constants in my life that make me happy – Chuck, the kids (yes, yes they do make me happy), living on our street, wonderful clients & friends both near and far. Maybe, just maybe, I’m more flexible than I think I am. Since one of my intended changes is to be a better blogger, I’ll let you know how it goes.