Technology is an undeniable luxury and necessity in the world today, but sometimes, it is really nice to unplug from it. Recently, I went to Jamaica to photograph a friend’s wedding. While there, I removed myself from the demands of the world. No emails. No schedules. No tasks (outside of photographer duties that is). No phone calls.
Essentially, I put away my phone and my computer (other than to take or edit a few pictures here or there). It was refreshing to unwind, sleep in, and laugh with friends. We drank fruity drinks on the beach. We chilled out in the water. We enjoyed some local music and food. Overall, we all just got to relax and enjoy each other and the world around us.
For me, making and keeping those connections with friends is critical. The bride and the two bridesmaids were deployed to Iraq with me back in 2005-2006. We have stayed in contact over the years. Some years more. Some years less. Regardless, there is a bond and history between us.
As an added bonus, I brought my best friend from high school along as my plus one. Her and I have stayed close over the years as well. Again, some years we talk more. Some years, a bit less. Either way though, our chats start off like no time has passed at all.
Having these friends from different times in my life meet was such a blessing. It was like watching a sunset or sunrise. Two different times blending together, creating a powerful beauty. It was poetic too. For the one group of friends knew me as their fellow Soldier friend and the other knew me as the young woman full of dreams. Now, they were both seeing me, the combination of all those things now. Just like the pictures below, we are all made up of several elements (experiences), and it is those elements (experiences) that make the picture (who we are) – thus, creating the view we give others.
All of us have different facets to our personalities, but overall, those facets are just pieces of the total us. Without one element, the total picture would be different. Maybe it could be better. Or maybe it could be worse. That’s the thing. We can only guess how things would be if our lives were different. We could guess and guess, but meanwhile, nothing would change except for the fact that we wasted all that time wondering about the unchangeable past.
So as I reflect on my time in Jamaica, I see that my view is as it should be. My life has not been perfect and certainly not always pleasant. But, it is my life, no one elses. I can’t change my past. I can only change how I deal with my present. My experiences and how I have dealt with them make me who I am. My past does not define me, but adds elements to my life. It is up to me to make my life into the beautiful sunset I want.
If you are not familiar with the challenge, make sure you check it out. Sally always has some great writing to go along with her stunning photos.