We braved the sub-arctic conditions last night here in Tampa (well, OK, it was in the mid-fifties), my good friend Simona and I … trying to get some decent long exposures.
The searing wind blowing up from the Hillsborough River into downtown, certainly left us feeling exposed and in all honesty we called it a night earlier than originally planned.
I have attached a few shots at the end of this blog so that you get a feel of what we were trying for, but here is my favorite from the night, right here:
We were trying to cope with the elements and generally not getting the amount of traffic we needed for long light streaks in the background. So, while the company itself was awesome, the shoot was not so much!
And yet this one shot above gave me an unexpected result with the flare from the traffic light behind her eye that could be forgiven for a movie poster from another Terminator sequel.
So, it was actually this thought that provoked the further musings that I am writing here.
The whole notion of time travel and returning to the past in order to be able to do or undo something that would in fact alter a present happening.
Like everyone, I have things in my past that I have often wished I hadn’t. Mistakes made, opportunities missed, arguments fought.
And yet as much as I recognize the errors of my ways, it is difficult for me to regret to the point where I truly wish them undone.
Edith Piaf’s anthem “Je ne regrette rien” was voiced in 1960 as a war banner leading the charge for the No Regrets movement. It extolled the virtue of living a life without regret and how we should boldly refuse to wilt under the results of past actions.
But I don’t aspire to that belief. I think regrets are fine. Understanding the ramifications of having done something wrong and feeling disappointed in ourselves is ok. Dwelling on them and wishing them undone is not ok. But acknowledging our mistakes and weaknesses is part of the learning process.
It can be a fundamental mechanism of self-growth. Enabling our learning from past mistakes and learning how not to do them again.
People who live in white houses and throw stones at all the mere mortals that offend them are a central problem within humanity at the moment. Self-belief to the point of willful ignorance has become a trademark of political and business achievements.
“everyone’s out of step except my Johnny” was a ridiculous one-liner to highlight how blind parent’s can be to their child’s shortcomings. And while most of us laughed loudly at the whole notion that anyone could actually believe such a thing, there was an undercurrent of belief among a certain type of parent that eventually put Johnny in the White House.
Most of us realize we are flawed. It is part and parcel of being human. Making mistakes is part of our eternal fabric and will never change.
Recognizing our mistakes is also what allows us to empathize with those around us who make theirs. It helps us to understand why their mistakes too are only human and empowers us to forgive.
It is also important to forgive ourselves. Forgiving our own past transgressions is a better response that trying to explain them away or even denying that we ever had transgressed. While few of us would have transgressed to the point where we carried an endless supply of tic tacs and forced ourselves on an unknown quantity of young women, we each have our own skeletons in our cupboards.
Denial of their presence may fool some but it should never fool ourselves. And the moment it does fool us is the moment we have crossed from human to something less.
There are a lot of human traits I hang my head about but regret, empathy, and forgiveness are qualities that we should wear with pride.
There is no going back and undoing. But there is definitely a future of learning and moving forward.
May your week ahead help you move ever forward.