My introduction to photography was through film, and it was in those quiet dark room moments that I fell in love with it. But in recent years I’ve mostly shot digital, and it wasn’t until I came across a vintage Canon in perfect condition and took it home with me that I started shooting with film again. I still have a bunch of rolls of film though, and the other day when I went to open a canister and load the camera, I discovered a used roll. I immediately went out to get it developed, dying to know what was on it. When I got it back, I found only a handful of images came out, the rest were damaged – and I had no recollection of shooting them. All of the images that survived were taken along Philly’s Schuylkill river save for one, which is of my cat Pearl when she was a baby. It’s the only indication of when the film was shot, apparently 8 years ago, when I was living in center city Philadelphia soon after graduating from college. It feels like a lifetime ago.
It got me thinking about time, and how quickly it passes. It freaks me out. When I took those photos I was so young, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I had no idea how much would take place over the next several years. I would live in 7 different apartments, three different cities, have two different jobs, one of which I was at for 5 years. 5 years seems like a long time to be somewhere – but looking back on it now, it’s like it went by in the blink of an eye. I think about the things I’ve always said I wanted to do, but still haven’t done – like write a book. It seems like we have so much time, but where does it all go?
I’m a bit conflicted on it. I believe in living in the moment, being spontaneous, not thinking too much about how I’m spending my time, but simply spending it, know what I mean? But I think it’s an interesting exercise, just for a week, to document what you’re spending your time doing. How many hours are you sleeping? Working? Doing something you might not enjoy but feel the need to do? How much time are you dedicating to doing what you really love? Are you working to live or living to work? One thing doing this has helped me realize is that even though it might seem like I’m “too busy” to work on something that feels so far-fetched as writing a book, the truth is, I do have time. Especially now that I’m working freelance and creating my own hours. It’s hard for me to set aside time for something that isn’t going to have any immediate results, but I’m working on it. Just a little bit each day, even just a page, can really add up. 8 years from now I might just have a book in my hands. Yes time is fleeting, but if we spend it wisely, there’s so much we can do.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you make the most of your time?