Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Simple Life

Photo by: Mark Tanis/The Image Group/ Honduras 2008
Current Location: Midland, Michigan, USA / 43°37′25.0″N 84°13′45.7″W


There was a time in my life when I'd spend my days worrying about the future, literally crippling my ability to focus, to shoot, to capture the world in its beauty. I would spend hours trying to find that magical answer to questions that really had no significant purpose, except for the obvious: love, finances, and family. I tried planning every step I took, mapped out my entire life and even carefully transcribed my directions on paper.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn't spent all that time contemplating on what I was going to do. Sitting here, I realize that some of my biggest-life changing decisions were made out of sheer spontaneity, defeating any purpose for spending countless hours of self inflicted mind-bending-psychological torture. Time and time again, I chose the road less travelled. And time and time again, my life has been rewarded.

I spent a few hours today organizing my camera equipment for my next assignments. And as I went thru all the wires, lights, and lenses, I realized that essentially, I was packing my life, putting it all into small cases, taking only what I needed most. One by one I began to eliminate items from my list. Luxury items like remote controls and advanced motorized heads quickly diminished from my arsenal. By the time I was done, my camera was stripped to its bare bones: body, lens, light, microphone, tripod. A simple unit used to capture the complexity of our world.

Metaphorically, I tend to evolve my life around my chosen profession. Essentially, it is my life. Believe it or not, my life consists of very few prized possessions. Like my camera, my modestly large apartment sits empty, bare to the walls. A bed is the only furniture I have. One fork, one knife, one spoon, and one plate is everything I use. Surely, I can afford a lot more, but I like it that way. I like not having to worry about cleaning up. I like knowing that everything I own is working, everything is there where I left it. And just like the art of grabbing a shot, I like being spontaneous--the freedom to leave when I want to, the flexibility to have no destinations, no regrets, no remorse. Just me and my lens, me and myself.

Selfish, I know. But it's the easiest way for one like me to understand and come to terms with a world of uncertainty. The less I have, the least I worry. The fewer toys I bring, the better my images become. A simple formula.

17 comments:

Indrayani aka, Indi! said...

And Ode to simplicity...
Its uncanny..I was kinda thinking about the concept of 'simple living,high thinking 'yesterday too you know...
:)

I was kinda a bit worried about how I would live with just the bare necessities when I move to canada, bcoz I will be on a shoestring budget myself...I am just used to luxuries and miserably spoilt..so giving that up was kinda bothering me..
I feel so stupid rite now...:(
You altered the wrong perception forever....
Thanks soo much!...

Cheryl said...

What happens if you lose the spoon, or it falls in the toilet? ...

Re: Rose/Jack.
Um, if you didn't notice, Rose took up a lot of room, and she had to sit right in the middle or the door would flip over. Jack totally did not love Rose. Love can triumph everything, so he could have triumphed and floated.. or maybe the message in Titanic is that love is overrated, and does not triumph everything. holy shit.

Erin Alberty said...

A-MEN! Things almost always work themselves out. Met an Australian girl in Tangier who just roams. Every time she thought she was at the end of her rope, something good would happen. She'd ferried into Morocco that day having spent her last dime on the boat ticket. But she met an older couple who were doing a big retirement adventure. They said she was doing the right thing, adventuring when she was young. And they gave her $50 for food and motel for the night.

DUTA said...

One never stops worrying about the future.especially nowadays when we feel that something bad is in the air (shaken economy, terror, etc..)

As for your preferrence for simplicity, that's not selfish. Maybe it has something to do with your roots, with the place you originally came from. At least, that's what I feel about myself and my roots, as I am also for the simple things in life, advocate simplicity, am not always impressed by western gadgets and convinced of their necessity.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

I think that's kinda cool. I often say I like simplicity, but then if you really look at my life, it's kinda of difficult. Home, stuff, kids, husband. My life really isn't simple.

I'm often envious of people like you. :) Though I will admit I wouldn't give up any of what I have for the world.

And I'm curious too, what would you do if you lost your spoon??

floreta said...

i do prefer simplicity. stuff tends to bog me down. but i'm impressed with how simple your belongings are from which you describe. i can definitely relate/understand the reasoning.

Ron said...

Indi: It must be so hard for you to give all that up, I completely understand. Don't worry, you'll be fine. There are plenty of luxuries here, you just have to be creative :)

Cheryl,Hilly Billy: When I lose a spoon I simply get very creative. Come on, haven't you ever had soup with a fork? Use the fork to pick up the meat and bring the bowl to your mouth and slurp! Easy!

Erin: Wow, I've always wanted to do what that girl did, there's a lot to be said for her percerverence. Despite my simple lifestyle, I don't think I'd have the guts to venture out like she did. That's amazing.

Duta: I think you're right. Growing up, my parents always insisted that I only had the essentials. I guess I never grew out of it.

Everyone: Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate everything I have, but sometimes, when we spend too much time worry about what we have and what we don't, it just bogs everything down, just like what Floreta said. Less is sometimes more! Thanks for reading.

The Demigoddess said...

I love the idea of simplicity but it's one of those ideas that look so good in theory but wouldn't work for me in real life.

One of my favorite lines from my favorite movie "Fight Club" goes: "The things you own end up owning you." True, material possessions could bog us down. Somehow, I would like to think of my material possessions as essentials but upon closer evaluation, I'm sure I have some things that I will be better without (a phone, for example. I wanna throw this away and not have anyone bother me. Lol.)

Small Footprints said...

Wonderful post!

If we plan everything out ... we miss out. I just wrote this to John at I have dreams ... and it seems perfect, here, as well. There is a saying in Spanish ... translated it goes: Life is full of surprises ... and surprises are full of life! Think what we would miss if we never allowed for surprises.

As for being selfish ... I don't think so. I've read your blog and your comments to me as well as other bloggers ... and while I don't really know you ... I'm pretty sure that no one would ever call you selfish. You have a good heart!

Living simply is good for the earth ... now that's totally unselfish!

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com

John said...

Dude, while I am a simple person like you too, I think you should get another pair of fork & spoon:

1. IN CASE it really drops into the toilet (no idea why one brings fork and spoon to the toilet though...)

2. For the girl you will invite over for dinner.

3. So that the current pair won't be lonely. Come on... don't tell me you don't know forks and spoons have feelings?

4. Two is better than one. As simple as that.

5. You should try eating with two forks and spoons sometimes. It's entertaining.

Cheryl said...

I can't believe you just called me a Hill Billy. I oughta virtually kick you. Your spoon sucks. I hope both your spoon and fork fall down the toilet.

Ron said...

Cheryl, I did not call you a Hill Billy! Read again!

I simply put Cherly, Hill Billy...as to answer both your question and Hill Billy's question about what happens if I drop a spoon in the toilet...you and her asked the same question! Sheeesh, where's the love around here?

Dan Denardo said...

"The more equipment you take, the less pictures you make" - Jay Maisel

John said...

Look at the bright side, guys and gals... if the spoon drops into the toilet (again... no idea why one would bring a spoon to the toilet...), you could drop the fork into the toilet too, and then have an underwater meal ;)

Bon Don said...

Ok with all this talk about spoons & forks, I brought mine. What's for dinner?

Just no ducky's... What!?
I'm still trapped in the 80's with fish!

*lol* I love your blog Ron! Thanks for being my BBF!

Carol said...

It's very liberating to have so few possessions.

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