One Year and Answers
It's nearly been a full year since I made this tiny personal site on Jan 1st of 2023. It's been one heck of a year for me, so I want to look back with gratitude for everything that's happened. It may not have been everything I was hoping for, but a lot of what happened was unexpected and just what I needed. Any disappointment I'm aware of came as a result of my own actions and not living up to my fullest, so I take responsibility for that. That being said, I see this as a good thing upon reflection, because if those disappointments are a result of my own decisions, then I have the power to change course in the future and I can learn from those mistakes.
Last year, in January 2023, I decided to ask myself some questions that I could answer a year later! Well, it's been one year later, and what was previously my 'future self' is now my present self, and present self is ready to turn back and answer those questions. So here we go :P
Q #1: I wanted to be an artist and worked at it for most of my 20s. I gave up on it last year in hopes of finding a better career. Will I actually find a decent career, or even a job, that suits me?
A #1: This is interesting. When I asked myself this in 2023, I had no idea that I would get pulled back into photography. A few unexpected twists occurred. I found an old hard drive and decided I would look through it, when I found a photograph my friend and I made in the middle of winter, late at night, on the pier of a lighthouse, and all the great old feelings that made photography so exciting to me in those early days came flooding back. This prompted me to compile a bunch of landscape photos I took and check into the feasibility of producing a photobook. That photobook project never came to completion, but I caught the bug for photography again. I prayed for direction regarding photography and I think it was the very next day that one of my mentors called me and offered to fly me all the way down to Texas (!) tp give me all of his Nikon gear (!!!) because he was switching platforms to Canon. Soon afterward, I got one of my photos published in the Scientific American. I then practiced and improved a lot, cleaned up the studio space, learned from a seasoned professional, and began using new techniques (such as 3d photography) for the first time! Now I'm excited to refresh my portfolio this year with better work, if possible!
I can't say for sure that I've found myself drawn toward another career path - I'm not sure what's even viable with the rise of A.I., my lack of resources, and the limited time I have left in life - but in the meantime, I'm excited to explore the art of photography for just a little longer. I was blessed to have a job pretty much handed to me mowing lawns. All the time outdoors, spent in the sun, felt very rewarding and was great for my mental health, while also not overloading in the social stimuli department. It certainly felt like it was the perfect unexpected fit as far as jobs go! This lead to realizing that building a lawnmowing company is not only possible, but fairly straightforward and profitable.
Q #2: I have so many interests, so many things I want to try and do. Will I be able to do them all, or at least find satisfaction with the small projects I do in the meantime?
A #2: I can't speak for certain about how I might feel in the future, but I've realized that many of the interests I get obsessed with are temporary fixations. They may last weeks or a couple months, but I tend to suddenly lose interest, find myself in an energetically/motivationally neutral slump for a little while, and then get drawn towards and hooked on something else. Could this be undiagnosed ADHD? I don't know! But after realizing this, and noticing that I will go in and out of interest with photography, I have a hunch that if I do lose interest in a topic, I'll be able to refocus that energy and attention back towards that topic in the future instead of grabbing onto the next shiny, attractive interest. I also think it's more important to seek meaning, stability, and improvement over constantly trying to find the right new path or direction. I now think that a lot of the attraction I felt drawing me to various hobbies and media came from shiny object syndrome as well as insecurity with my own proficiency and ability within the media that I've already engaged with. If I really do feel a strong magnetic attraction toward a new media, I'll let myself dabble with it naturally and when the opportunity arises instead of throwing all caution and reservation to the wind and diving straight into them. It may be better practice now to slow down and reflect on why I feel so interested in pursuing these media before diving in head on.
That being said, I definitely engaged in new techniques and practices with photography this year, I purchased my first microcontroller kit (which I've yet to dabble extensively with,) I set purchased my first synthesizer I've owned since 2020/2021 and set up a little studio space, completed a first track. All-in-all, it was very cool engaging in a few different things and I don't feel like anything else needed to happen on that front :P
Q #3: I want to do something meaningful for myself and meaningful for those around me. I miss making good work. Can I ever make a great piece of content again?
A #3: I shot a few portraits last year that seemed to boost the subjects' self-esteem, which was very exciting and fulfilling for me! Not only was this the first time I've heard reports back from people expressing a mood booster from the results, but it was multiple reports from multiple people! I also shot a family portrait and created a few images that felt meaningful to me! I hope I can do this more often in the future! I do feel like I created at least one piece that felt like a significant skill improvement.
Q #4: Can I really build another audience from scratch again? I spent so much time on my last one, and now I'm separating myself from it.
A #4: While I can't say I built a new audience from scratch, I can say that it does feel possible now. I've had new content I created this year go micro-viral and was really surprised by the increase of eyes on my work with just a little bit of effort! I feel confident that this shouldn't be a worry.
Q #5: What about this website? What about the unbuilt website, the one you just spent money on hosting for? What will become of these?
A #5:Not too much with this website! I did get my professional portfolio built and I'm glad about that, a few orders even came through the shop! Onio.cafe on the other hand has become a little place of occasional relaxation and enjoyment, met some really cool people through it (!!!) and I'm glad I built it :)
Q #6: Are there any skills I'll be able to gather along the way, that will be very useful for me, that I don't have now?
A #6: My photography skills have certainly improved! Not much to say otherwise :P
Q #7: Will I ever be able to live on my own?
A #7: It didn't happen this year, but the way this year has gone, I think it's possible :) I am considering building out a vehicle next year to live in if necessary.
Q #8:It's been a year since my dad passed away and I still can't believe it. Does it get harder or easier from here?
A #8: I can't believe it's been nearly 2 years. I don't know if it gets easier. It gets different. I feel adjusted to this reality, but I still can't believe it. I miss him so much. It's been a while since it really hit me deeply, and I won't be surprised if it does again.