– First –
Written to “For now I am winter” by Ólafur Arnalds
I remember in grade school and then again for about ten years in my professional career yelling “first!”. My goal(and many of those around me) was to claim as many “firsts” as we could. I would run around the playground and be the first to tag the swing, and I was fast. But then a strange thing happened. Someone would call out a new place. “The slide!” they would exclaim and at that moment I would see….they had already started running. I would sprint as fast as I could and would sometimes catch up. I would feel that rush of glory and then that anticipation of the next place called out. But at the end of recess, regardless of how many times I had won or lost…I was always exhausted.
I’m exhausted now.
I’ve spent the last few years running around in my photography career yelling “first!” and have noticed that it has only really made me tired and has at times made me snap my head to the next spot before I should. Often giving my clients a pat on the back when they really needed a hug. Where is everyone going? Maybe if I innovate enough….maybe I can call the next spot. Maybe I can get a few steps ahead.
Last year we as a family corrected from this pace heavily as many of you know. But I still find myself slipping back at times. The facebook stalking gets more frequent and I seek work and praise from people and situations that I really don’t want. I get frustrated when others emulate my process, when moments ago I was pressing them to do that exact thing. Then someone yells out the next spot.
These things take time to work out and I’ve been so blessed to have good council and mentorship over the years but especially lately. My Pastor reminds me that pride and selfishness exponentially grow our sense of self worth and exceedingly increases our feelings of being mistreated.
My father is constantly trimming the thoughts down to the important parts. Showing me that talking about feelings is fine, but focusing on the important things brings clarity.
And as I work with these incredible craftsmen and artist I am realizing that being first is easy, craftsmanship is hard. While everyone is running in zig zags from point to point there is someone mastering their thing. It may not be glamorous or trendy or hot at the time. But when you have that need, no one can touch them.
Try new things, experiment and be inspired. Please. But let’s stop looking in our rearview mirror and letting others call out next. Let’s not take our applause too early, wait for the right moment.
Slow down and be great.