Life is Too Short

Since it’s the end of a long week I thought I’d wax philosophical this morning and discuss some of life’s simple pleasures. But first, the bad news . . .

We live in a world that moves at an incredible pace most days. We are bombarded with more information than our brains can actually process, digest and understand. We rush to get to work, we rush through our day and we rush home in the evenings. We fall dead asleep and do it all over again the next day. We live our lives as if time has no meaning! Let me say that again. We live our lives as if time has no meaning!

But time does have meaning and our time here on this planet is all too short. Let me explain.

I receive hundreds of emails and thousands of blog comments each year asking advice on this camera or that filter or on some technique that will add impact to their images. While I’m always happy to help (I do answer every email personally), I rarely see most people following through with their dreams to become better photographers. It’s as if many folks are waiting for permission to live their lives to the fullest and pursue their dreams.

Those of you that have followed my blog for some time probably know that in March 2007 I came down with an inexplicable and still undiagnosed neurological disorder that left me in almost constant pain with muscle spasms and cramps in my lower back and legs. I spent the better part of a year in and out of the hospital, seeing specialists and being tested for everything from AIDS to Cancer to MS. I’ve had multiple MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds, myelograms and neurological tests. My condition is still undiagnosed, but I do have medication to help control the muscle spasms and pain. It has taken me the better part of three years to recover my strength and self confidence.

Before all this occurred I lived my life as if time had no meaning. As if I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. I had no great ambition in life (other than to support my family and raise my children) and no real goals beyond getting my golf handicap down to single digits. It never occurred to me that my time here was limited and if I wanted to leave something meaningful behind, I’d better get off my butt and start really living.

Without sounding like a Baptist preacher let me explain what I’ve learned. LIFE is a gift from GOD. It is finite and final. We have only so much time to grow, learn, understand, teach and pray before we pass through this plane of existence and on to the next. And we have no idea how short or long our life may be! None. Nada. No Idea.

LIFE IS TOO SHORT not to slow down and enjoy its simple pleasures like photographing a solitary flower in the warm sunshine. It’s too short to sit inside reading photography books, magazines and blog posts every night and weekend instead of getting out there to shoot.

LIFE WAS MEANT TO BE LIVED. It’s a gritty, scary and often exhausting “full-contact” sport where everyone is their own quarterback and the two-minute warning has just sounded.

LIFE WAS MEANT TO HAVE MEANING. Millions die each year without leaving behind a meaningful legacy to inspire the next generation. Be a part of the small minority that does.

Yellow

Yellow – Llano, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/4 for 1/1250th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Here’s the Good News . . .

LIFE BEGINS ANEW EACH MORNING. Get up early to shoot a sunrise. Stay up late to shoot a sunset. Carry a camera with you everywhere you go. If something looks interesting to you, take the shot. If nothing looks interesting to you, then you’re not really looking are you?

LIFE CAN SLOW DOWN. It’s all up to you. You can rush through your life and be miserable or you can slow things down to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Go sit on a park bench during lunch and slowly look around you. Look for something interesting and take the shot!

LIFE REQUIRES COURAGE (but what have you got to lose?). Mix things up a little. If you shoot predominantly landscape images, shoot some portraits. Have the courage to shoot a stranger. Be a generalist. Specialization is for insects.

LIFE IS TOO SHORT. Don’t wait another instant. Pursue your photographic dreams with determination. Make it happen! But don’t forget to enjoy your life. The journey through life is why we are here!

20 thoughts on “Life is Too Short

  1. Wonderful post, Jeff. All us readers are lucky to find it. I have experienced some chronic pain and another 24/7 annoying condition (uncurable), so I have some feel for what you are going through. As you know and wrote about so eloquently, a “life well lived” is our only defense. Keep up your fight and keep us posted.

  2. I have to say thanks for all your post that I read all the time. I do have to agree with you on this. As a busy college student and having couple jobs makes it hard to get out and shoot much but when I am able to it means that much more to me. We all take to much for granted in this life I think.

    Thanks again,

    Grant

    Ps, Could I send you some shots and have you give me some tips on them?

  3. I read and enjoyed every word you wrote and it is oh so true. I’m going to send the link of this article to a family member of mine who is suffering from the same thing you have described. She has been checked for all the things you have been checked and with the same results. I think she will enjoy what you have written here.

  4. Thanks for sharing Jeff. It is so true what you’ve said… and sometimes, I forget to look at the good things. I’ve been reading other blogs and it looks like today is a soul searching day for many bloggers. Many similar thoughts.

  5. Jeff,

    With this gem of a post, you have truly made a follower out of me! This reminder of how life is truly slipping through our hands everyday, and how we can combat the “daily grind” and really LIVE life is something that all of us can comprehend. Having just left my job of three years, I now have more opportunities to escape and slow life down, but have not taken advantage of this yet. You have inspired me (and many apparently), and what started as a search for Lightroom 2/3 tips, has turned out to be a reawakening. *goes outside*

    Thank you.

  6. Thank you for the reminder, Jeff.

    Life is too short. Death is final.

    Thus, we’re taking nine weeks to visit Alaska this summer — before we’re too feeble to hike the trails and outrun the grizzlies. Life will still be here when we get back … if we decide to come back.

    • Sue,

      Thanks so much for your email and comments. Enjoy your Alaska trip and watch out for the biting flies. They’re Texas size up there!

      Jeff

  7. Very nice post, Jeff. Definitely touching.
    And very true.

    (nice picture again, my friend)

    Cheers

  8. Excellent blog today Jeff!

    I recently framed a photo of a field of bluebonnets I took on our safari and hung it by our front door. On the white border I added to the image I included a caption it took me this long in life to realize:

    Life is not a competition to win. Life is a journey to enjoy.

    Now if only I can adopt my ways to that simple declarative.

    • Glenn,

      You are so right. I certainly enjoyed our time together at the TLS. Keep shooting and stay in touch. Remember, as alumni your “tuition” is free if you ever decide to join us again. Bring the “scout”. 😉

      Jeff

  9. I so understand this, Jeff. Tonight I will be participating in town’s Relay for Life to raise money to fight and someday defeat cancer. I have lost close family and friends to this disease as recently as this week. I wake up everyday cherishing life and thankful for every moment in the day. Thank you for the reminders as I make it happen!

Comments are closed.