Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Is This All There Is?
I've been in a bit of a funk lately -- well, not a funk, really, more like a generalized state of crabbiness. I get that way when I start feeling uncertain of my overall direction. Like, what am I doing with my life? Is it enough to be living in London with my partner and a new dog and a part-time job and an obsessive photography habit? I am essentially without a career at this point, without any larger purpose. I'm coasting along day-to-day, but I don't have any greater goals.
Well, I guess that's not exactly true. I have some goals for travel and things like that. But you know what I mean -- an overall purpose.
I've wanted to publish my photography, but I'm feeling less and less like that will ever go anywhere. There are so many people making images now -- it's a bit like journalism, my erstwhile career. These days, at least according to popular wisdom, everyone's a journalist, everyone's a photographer. We all produce content, so the value of content has fallen and it's getting harder and harder to find anyone to pay for it. Even good content.
(This feeling has no doubt been exacerbated by the frustratingly brief rejection letter I recently received from another publisher.)
Then again, was I any better off when my career was more active? Is newspaper work any more purposeful than scheduling substitute teachers? More interesting, maybe, and a bit more lucrative. But there were certainly things about it I didn't like -- the hours, the competition, the occasionally rude rejection by potential sources. For God's sake, I am living in London, with spare time and the means to just enjoy myself. I have a hell of a lot of nerve whining about anything.
Truth be told, I wasn't entirely sure of my purpose even when I was editing newspapers. I've never been a particularly ambitious person. I mostly just want to do my job well, support myself, and have enough money to enjoy my life. I'm doing all of that now, more or less.
I suppose this is just the human condition -- the current of dissatisfaction that runs through most of our lives, the feeling that we need more. It's the desire that the Buddha warned about. Maybe I should go back to sitting! Meanwhile I will keep walking Olga, and keep enjoying my evenings with Dave, and keep seeing my world, and recording it in the best way I know how. If I have a purpose, that's it, at least for now.
(Photo: Camden Market, last week.)