Good Times, Bad Times, I'm ready for 2019

Here it is, the last day of 2018. These past 12 months have been some of the worst months in my life. It’s not that there hasn’t been great moments in the time, but more that there has been more compounded tragedy and sorrow in this year than any other I can remember. Past years seemed to be more made up of isolated instances of sorrow.

2018 saw me make many changes to my life’s plans and consequently, to my photography plans. I think that the foremost issue has been with my wife’s ongoing struggle with her memory and cognitive problems, it’s progression, and with me as I come to terms with growing older. I swear, I don’t yet know how to be “old” but I fear I am learning. Sure, I have aches and pains throughout the body but those have been around since my thirties. My problem with growing older are seeing those close to me experiencing health problems and in 2018, far too many deaths. I’ve been to so many funeral and memorial services this year…its just tough to think about. Thankfully I have distractions, things I can read about and devote some thought to that are very much more positive in nature, and in many cases, silly and laughable. And I have good friends and family.

I use two mediums to soothe my psyche and promote well being. Music and photography, or simply art. Photography has been a way in my recent past to earn some money but its always been a way to personally express myself. I love “art” and I love to examine art, good and bad. In particular paintings, and to a lesser extent sculpture and of course, always photographs. I can’t paint a stroke, can’t draw beyond stick men, and well, I won’t even touch on sculpture. I think only God’s can sculpt - so I photograph. I’ve always used photography to ease me through rough days and tough times. I photographed commercially for a slightly different purpose which I think takes me away from my real photography. My commercial efforts satisfy a challenge mostly to see if I can do it, to see if I have enough skills but also to express my own style and look to an image. I do not get to do it often enough but I like to take portraits and capture the true essence of a person. Most of the time though, people want portraits with a certain look, background, or style that does little to promote them as individuals. They want copies of what they saw someplace else. Totally unimaginative but I guess it pays the bills. Since I have hardly any bills pertaining to photography anymore, I can walk away from that sort of work.

Similarly, music is much the same for me. I have a keen ear for it, or so I have been told, but I cannot play an instrument. I do love to listen to music and being a long time fan/student/devotee to poetry, I am enthralled by lyrics. I’m probably more captivated by lyrics than the melody of a song. Still, piecing lyrics to a melody and creating a song is to me one of the coolest feats a human can do. Music defines moods for me, and invokes memories. It can make me relate, it can make me emotional, and at times makes me “see” things. It’s very similar to art in what it provides to my person. I’ve been listening more lately, and finding certain songs to be slices of life in 2018. I’m also finding what may be future years in song as well. Inspiration?

“Changes fill my time…baby, that's alright with me
In the midst I think of you, and how it used to be”

Song: “Ten Years Gone, by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

So with 2019 just mere hours away, I’m more than ready to cast away 2018. I’m not going to say that 2018 as a number was bad or meant anything other than it coincided with my large number of trips around the sun. Trips around the sun define your life more or less. Those trips provide boundaries and within those boundaries you live. For me 2019 holds promise and promise is what I want to focus on. Photography and music will be prominent in my year. We will become Grandparents in 2019, a first for Irene and I. I’m planning to make changes in my lifestyle, and will work hard to reduce my piles of “stuff”; cutting loose a basement and two garages full (plus storage sheds) of things I never use or will use moving forward. 2019 will be a year of garage sales and Craigslist for me. I want to embrace the outdoors more but thats very dependent on my wife’s health. There is no doubt changes will occur in 2019. Not all of them positive but all them will be necessary. This is after all, life.

Then as it was, then again it will be
And though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea”

Song: “Ten Years Gone”, by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

Thanks for being a part of my 2018. Good and bad. Let’s hope we all have the best 2019 possible. Safe travels, best wishes.

- Wally