Finding happiness within yourself with camera in hand.
Have you ever had a moment of complete contentment? That feeling when you have absolutely no expectations or need to do anything?
I had that feeling not too long ago when my wife and I were visiting Alberta. It was our last day there and we had a late flight back home so we spent most of our day exploring the city. We spent the morning exploring the area around our hotel and of the city centre.
Like most vacations we take, we try to cram in as much as possible so we can make the most of our experience. We fill our schedules with activities and to be honest, my wife and I were no different. We had planned our long weekend with so many things that we kinda forgot to give ourselves time. To be honest, we wanted to photograph things. We hadn’t been on any kind of photography trip in a long time so we wanted to make the most of it and since we were in a new location, we found plenty to explore.
After we checked out, we continued in our rental car to explore the different parts of the city and the neighbourhoods. We didn’t really know where we were going. We’d spent the previous two days exploring the mountains and Badlands to satisfy our “landscape photography” urges. Believe me, it worked, but we could have easily used more time.
Come on, who wouldn’t want to see more of this?
But we didn’t have the time to drive back to the mountains because we were pretty certain we wouldn’t have wanted to leave. So we chose to stay in the city.
After taking in several views of the Calgary we ended up back where we were from our first day. Probably our favourite view - Scotsman’s Hill.
I think it was at this point where everything we were doing just stopped. That moment where nothing mattered. We had lots of time before our flight and no expectations to do or be anywhere. So we sat on a park bench and stared at the city. It fit perfectly in our field of vision. From here, I felt absolute perfection. No distractions, no pushing or pulling. I felt like I could just turn my mind and the world off.
It’s hard to turn your mind off. Having not been able to do it for years now, I admittedly didn’t know the feeling until well after it happened that I realized how much I missed it. I spoke to my wife about it and she understood. She knew I had been “off” for a while now, but I couldn’t tell until much later.
We’d spent the majority of our weekend doing something. Much like life, we spend our time always trying to do something productive. Trying to propel ourselves forward that a lot of times we forget to stop and smell the roses. Yes there are times that we truly don’t have time to smell them and plenty of other times that we think we are giving ourselves time to do it, but in reality we aren't. You know that feeling. We, inadvertedly give ourselves a time limit and that counter ticks away in our minds while we try to be in the moment. I’m talking about truly being in the moment. When nothing matters. Now in my case, there really was a time limit, but we could have really sat there all day and still made it back to the airport in time for our flight. That afternoon was the closest thing I’d felt to bliss in a long time.
Think about the last time you ever experienced that.