Breaking the mold

It was a Saturday drowned in work and one of the least enjoyable I have put down in a while. But now the cats were fed and everyone locked up safely for the night.

Must have been around 7:30 and I too had eaten, and watched a little TV and in truth I was probably staring at a go-to-bed decision within the hour. I came through a life-changing event about a month ago and it was definitely affecting what I wanted to do with my evenings.

But this time I caught myself before drifting into the obscurity of a quiet evening and decided enough was enough.

Marty (Morgan’s little fur buddy) looked at me in surprise as I got up, grabbed my camera and left. I didn’t even take the whole camera bag; just a couple of spare batteries and I was out of there.

The rain drops as I walked down the steps to the car only served to snap me further out of any residual sleepiness and within a moment I was on my way to downtown Tampa.

Even though I hadn’t taken a picture yet, I was still feeling chuffed as I drove the half-hour or so into the downtown area. Chuffed that I had gotten my lazy ass off the sofa and was actually doing something with my evening.

Despite the rain, the Riverwalk area still had fellow-adventurers out and I decided from the outset I would embed them into my shots. There were strollers, families, lovers, friends … all just enjoying the fresh air and ignoring the occasional drop or two that added a bit of dampness into their evening.

As I took my shots, I even got to chat with a wonderful family that were taking shots of their own and my evening grew from quiet loneliness into a warm adventure surrounded by like-minded night-adventurers.

Anyway, I hope you like the collection at the end of the blog … I was overall happy withe mix of colors and shapes and having people within them gave a more candid feel to the collection.

The “chuffed” feeling stayed with me on the drive home and i mused over the whole notion of how sometimes we need to break the mold and set out a new path for ourselves.

Inevitably, the box we put ourselves in is the toughest to get out of.

For whatever reason we create a behavior pattern that becomes our norm and then we find ourselves unthinkingly sticking with it. Which isn’t unnecessarily a bad thing if the pattern we have developed is one that is fulfilling or generates self-growth.

But oftentimes, the box is built around laziness, or depression, or just misguided comfort. And our lives shrink without a thought.

It is easy to imagine such lives fading into obscurity until one day you wake up and realize that you actually died a few years ago. Or worse still that the people who once loved you suddenly realize you died a few years ago.

These self-defined boxes are not just the domain of lonely old fools. They are built by us all. They can form around us without any realization and hide us away from the living part of life.

Each time I experience an awakening moment like last night, I remind myself of the one-life-to-live approach, which has very much been my life-mantra as far back as I remember.

So how do we even recognize these boxes that we build?

Well, periodically we should look at our behavior and look for routine. If new adventures seem off-putting and you have a well-worn set of reasons for not doing something different this weekend, then either the life you are living is absolutely perfect or you have formed a mold that makes you snugly fit inside a box.

If these molds have been set for many years, they can become hardened like concrete and very difficult to break through. But if we regularly challenge our behaviors they are little more than the styrofoam packaging that snugly protects a mug during shipping. It looks solid and restrictive but the slightest push can smash through it and give ourselves an opportunity to expand our life with a new challenge.

For my part, I have recognized the event and subsequent behavior that molded this little box around me and I reject the limitations it has tried to enclose me with.

There is a life out there. One life. That is all we get. Live it.