2014-12-23 Self-reflection

It seems that a majority of people believe that they haven’t changed much over the years, according to a recent survey. This majority opinion flies in the face of studies that show a significant change in the beliefs and opinions of most people, over time. To me, the biggest surprise was that many seemed quite proud when expressing the opinion that they haven’t changed, as if such inflexibility were a sign of some sort of intellectual or moral superiority.

I’m no more an expert than the next person when it comes to understanding the meaning of life, but I’ve always believed that one of the goals of living should be to continuously learn, grow, evolve. The accumulation of knowledge, and more importantly, wisdom, should be a life-long pursuit. As we learn and evolve, our opinions and beliefs sometimes will and should necessarily change. Surely this is a strength, not a weakness, as some might suggest.

It’s fair to say that I’ve changed quite a bit over the years, in ways both large and small(mostly for the better, but regrettably, not always). My opinions and beliefs have often shifted, or become more nuanced. In many instances I’m less certain about what I believe, which I think is a good thing. I’ve learned to temper my opinions with a fair degree of humility, knowing that there’s every possibility that I’m just plain wrong. The most dangerous man in the world is the man who’s absolutely, positively certain that he’s correct.

One of the lessons I’ve learned in recent years is that events that seemed so important as they were unfolding, often seem less important over time. As we gain perspective with the passing of time, events that once seemed traumatic frequently fade in significance… and of course, time really does heal most, if not all wounds. At the very least, it makes them survivable. Interestingly enough, the scars left behind can change us in ways we never imagined. Whether they change us for better or worse depends, I think, on how we choose to move forward. We can cling to old grudges, wallow in the bitterness of disappointment, rail against the betrayal of others… or we can choose to search for a silver lining. It’s important to remember that the indignities we suffer at the hands of others often say more about them than they do about us. Viewing these unfortunate experiences as lessons that help us better navigate through life can transform them from a negative into a positive. That adjustment in perspective has helped me greatly over the last decade.

Moving forward, I will endeavor to continue to learn, grow, evolve, as both a person and a photographer. I firmly believe that my best is still ahead of me, in both regards. I think I’ve barely scratched the surface of who I can be, and what I can achieve. Unlocking that potential is the tricky part, for all of us. It’s so easy to get distracted, sidetracked… that’s happened to me frequently this year. Yet I’ve also made great personal strides. I hope the momentum I’ve built in 2014 will carry over into the coming year, in all aspects of my life. I hope for good things for each and every one of you as well. I’m so appreciative of those who’ve chosen to follow my modest little blog. I wish you happy holidays, and health, peace and prosperity for the coming year. See you all in 2015.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Self-portrait”

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