SHANNON REED PORTRAIT

Really? Another blog?

Happiness, PhotographyShannon Reed

Admittedly, I am a blogoholic; this is my third or fourth - or fifth.  I've lost count, really.  My first blog was about being a girl - or at least it started out that way.  It then sort of became a platform for my hyperbolic views on politics, religion, fashion, life, my hair, death, social injustices and other infusive thoughts on pop-culture and, well, everything but the kitchen sink.   

And then I started getting a lot of hits - people were reading my words and I freaked out a little.  It's a little unsettling when someone in another state comes up to you and says, "I love your blog!"  Not that I'm famous or anything - it was a friend of my aunt's back in Des Moines.  But still. 

There are others, too (blogs, not blog-readers) and I thought about piggy-backing this new concept on to a blog I've been doing for the last year or so, but that didn't feel right.  Besides, I'm also a changeoholic and need to see things from new perspectives frequently or I start to do bad things to my hair out of boredom.    

The other day my husband told me about a once-upon-a-time really negative guy who decided to pull himself out of his self-misery and create a blog where he talked about one awesome thing that happened to him every day in an effort to appreciate his life more.  Brilliant.  It's not my intent to copy him - but there's something to that manifestation of gratitude that ties into our philosophy of positive thinking and the power of intention (yup - like The Secret). 

His concept rezohhhnated within me. 

Now, for most of my whole life I thought I was a writer - was supposed to be a writer - because I derive a crazy amount of pleasure from the written word.  Truth is, I only like writing when I feel like writing - not because I have to write.  Turns out I could never do it for a living - ohgodno. I'm not disciplined enough.        

My twenties were disappointing; my thirties were awesome and, a few months after I turned 40, I was laid-off from my corporate job and, you know, it was really a few months after that that I was able to start seeing life more clearly - really, for the first time.  So I guess the 40s, so far anyway, have consisted of a good deal of re-evaluating and taking stock. 

Like a lot of people impacted by the crashing economy, I started asking myself questions like, "What's the purpose of this life - my life?" and "What's important and how can I live a life that is meaningful and pleasurable?"  The rules as I'd known them to that point seemed to have been constructed mainly by cultural architects - I had the big house, the nice clothes, the corporate job; I was making lots of money and amassing material goods thinking that would make me feel better and fill up the gaping hole swirling inside of me.  I honestly thought stuffing it with new shoes would help.  Ha- not gonna lie - sometimes it did.  Especially those Louboutins.  {sigh - I love those shoes} 

I'll speed this up a bit:  The Artist's Way, left corporate, first dSLR, finished grad school, spent a month in Paris, The Bookery Nook, my grandmother's death, spent another month in Paris {sigh - I also love Paris}. 

Major events that have shaped me further and provided some much needed clarity.  You know - life really can begin at 40 and it can happen in really amazing ways because we know stuff now.  We can link things together - life has actual content, context, and meaning.  It's freaking fantastic.

When I was in Paris the second time, I had my camera with me and I really spent some time getting to know her - the camera, not Paris (we're already old friends).  And that's when it hit me.  In fact, it was like having an orgasm for the first time; you know, life is fine and good or whatever - you're just doing your thing - and then you have an orgasm and you're like, "Wow - what the hell was that and can I have some more right now all day every day, please?"  

I've probably put in 8-10 hours a day, every day, and taken about 95,000 pictures since coming home from Paris Part Deux.  I'm positively addicted.  

Anyhoo... to loosely borrow from the guy who wrote about one awesome thing a day, I'm going combine my passion for photography with putting my gratitude out into the Universe and try to post a photograph of something I'm grateful for each day.  

...along with other ramblings, I'm sure.