Perpetual Beginner

It seems no matter how old I get I always feel like I’m beginning again. Out of shape? Start working out, despite body’s protests. Publish a novel? Start a new one. Career disappears with global pandemic? Start over with a whole new business plan. Divorced? Start dating. 

Bonus level: date a woman for the first time.

In creating this series: QUARANTINE: A LOVE STORY I wanted every image to evoke the magic and whimsy of new love. When I think about imagery that captures the feeling of being in love—how the world drifts out of focus and all that matters is the two of you—it comes down to transcendent details. Golden sunlight backlighting hair, the curve of a neck where it meets shoulder, our feet intertwined. They’re the snippets I see in my mind’s eye. While I have opted to take a wider frame, the details I’ve chosen to highlight are all elements that I gravitate to because they evoke that same feeling.

For this particular image I loved the idea of shooting at the Secret Swings. Hidden tree swings with a beautiful view are the very definition of whimsy. My original vision was to shoot us on the swings and then cut that out, placing our swing  in a lush gardenscape with fairy lights everywhere. The hidden garden swing felt like the kind of detail to evoke the feeling being in our own little world. 

But when I got home from the shoot and started going through the photos I couldn’t bring myself to cut out the background. Something about it kept speaking to me. Over the years, throughout all the fresh beginnings, one thing I’ve learned is to listen to that voice even when I don’t understand it. So I left it. And I added fairy lights. And, while it’s a different image than the one I originally envisioned, it’s perfect. Like love itself, it’s not what I imagined. It’s not perfect in general, it’s perfect for me.

So for anyone else who feels like a perpetual beginner, take advantage of that openness. Allow your serendipitous imagination to show you things you never before dreamed of. See where it takes you.

4 thoughts on “Perpetual Beginner

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  1. I’ve always been a beginner for some reason, always starting over (mostly in my career), and now I’m seeing that it’s my way of growing. Yes, I might not be a specialist, but I get to see things from a broader perspective. Thanks for this post!

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  2. I love your voice and this piece gives me a sense of belonging. I’m also a member of the perpetual beginners club and, like Stuart, I feel it does give me a broader perspective. A fresh perspective when the others get stale. I’ve been ambivalent about continually starting over in my life but now I see how its helped me to remain curious and excited to see what is next without falling into the trap of believing it might be the “same old thing”. Childlike Wonder supports us in being resilient so cheers to perpetual beginners! May we never doubt our mastery of openness!

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