Thank you for checking out week 45 of The 365 Day People Picture Project! I compare this point in the project to being around mile 21 in a Marathon. For anyone looking on, it would seem that if a person has made it to mile 21 - the rest would be in the bag. But, a lot can happen in those last 5.2 miles and in those last few miles, the battle that's happening in your head is now a full blown war.
By mile 21, you know if you can still hit your goal, or if you're so far off track that you now just need to concentrate on crossing that finish line. At mile 21, one moment you're praising yourself for all of your training for the past several months, and then the next moment, you're cursing yourself for not training harder or smarter. You fight to quiet the voices of self-doubt in your head and replace them with with a loop of positive mantras - I'm strong. I can do it. I'm strong. I can do it.
So here I am, around mile 21. I'm off track to meet my goal as far as showing improvement in the quality of the pictures I take - but I'm determined to cross that finish line anyway. I could have done more. I could have "trained" harder. I could have studied more, practiced more, and learned more. Just like in a marathon - it's time to hush those stupid negative voices and just finish strong. For now, let's just concentrate on these last 5.2 miles ahead of us. Let's just finish strong. Finishing strong doesn't always mean that it's pretty, and quite often it hurts. Badly. Finishing strong means giving it your entire heart. Finishing strong means you dig down deep to pull out more from yourself than you even knew you had left to give. You might even just surprise yourself with what you can find when you dig deep. Finish strong.
Day 309 - JL21
This is JL21. I broke my own rule and decided to include a costumed street performer in the project. But, there is a very good reason why I broke the rule.
Saturday night, I met up with my friend Anne and her friends. We were having the kind of conversation I live for - one in which we talked about exploring and honoring creativity, doing what we love, finding who we love, and how all those seemingly random life coincidences one day align themselves to reveal that they weren't at all random, but meaningful occurrences orchestrated by the universe to lead us to exactly where we're meant to be.
Anne's friend, Jeannie, brought up "the Robot" during our conversation. Jeannie knows the true identity of "the Robot," and although now I can't even remember how he was introduced into our conversation, he just fit the topic and he actually played a pretty key role in our beautiful conversation. I didn't know "the Robot" who Jeannie was referring to, as I had never seen him before.
The next day, as I was driving to the library, I somehow turned down a completely different street than I normally take to go to the library. I thought it was odd at the time because I get pretty set in my driving routes and routines. I took a few turns in the attempt to get myself back on my normal route and all of the sudden --- THERE HE WAS!!!! THE ROBOT!!! Less than 18 hours after hearing about "the Robot," in a conversation about coincidences-not-being-coincidences, "the Robot" was right before my eyes! I decided that even though it was against my rule, I just wanted and needed to include him in the project.
In the time that I had "interviewed" JL21, several people had stopped to take pictures with him. He's quite the popular robot!
I asked JL21 the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my relationship," and "I'm not overheating." JL21 is a seriously determined robot. I can imagine that on a hot day, his robot suit could get practically unbearable.
JL21 works for tips but his act of kindness is that he still lets people take pictures with him, even if they don't have money for a tip. People love him!
"To live every moment," LJ21 replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement, or if he could think of one on the spot. JL21 explained that living every moment is actually the art of slowing time and that it helps if you have a love for everything.
I asked JL21 one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied in a robot-like voice, "that I am a happy Robot."
Day 310- Ian
This is Ian. A person sitting alone at a patio table has officially become an invitation for an invitation...it's become pretty easy for me to invite myself to sit down with them to ask if I can take their picture.
"I'm moving to Canada in 2 months, " Ian replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Ian if he had recently performed an act of kindness. He said that he does little things all the time, the most recent thing that came to mind is that he had just given a man a cigarette.
"Be nice to people, leave a little footprint, and spread happiness," Ian responded, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.
I asked Ian one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "I'm still skateboarding at 28 years old." I both kidded him and encouraged him, telling him my boss is 50+ and still skateboarding, and that hopefully he'll be able to say the same when he's his age.
Day 311 - Mercy
This is Mercy.
"I'm working on trying to buy my house," Mercy said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
I asked Mercy if she had recently performed an act of kindness. Mercy couldn't think of something specific, but she then explained that she works in customer service and she has the opportunity to be kind to people every day in the job she does.
"To be better and better," Mercy replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.
I asked Mercy one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success and she explained that in addition to her job, she also has a coaching business - Left Turn Coaching. Mercy travels the country teaching and coaching Roller Derby Teams!
Good luck in the home-buying adventure, Mercy!
Day 312 - Marc
This is Marc.
In my search for a daily subject, I often pass by Portland Shoe Repair, in the Hollywood District, and it always looks like such a happening place! I couldn't figure out why so many people would be at a shoe repair shop, so I finally decided to stop in and that's where I met Marc. There were enough guys for a basketball team and I learned they were all family, just hanging out and helping the family member who was working at the time.
I asked Marc the happiest thing happening in his right now and he replied, "enjoying the summer."
Marc's recent act of kindness, one in which he often does, is that he gave a person a MAX (lightrail commuter train) ticket.
"Take pride in your work," Marc responded, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.
I was a little surprised and impressed at Marc's next answer, given his age. One thing about himself which Marc considers to be a success - is his perseverance. Marc said he stays mentally strong and no matter what happens, he sees the silver lining. Marc has a pretty wise outlook for someone just beginning his life. With that mindset, he'll go far.
Day 313 - Emily
This is Emily.
"I'm dancing again," Emily replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life right now. Emily is a dancer and when I asked if she danced a particular style, she explained that right now, her work is mainly Latin style dancing.
Emily was having a hard time recalling if she had recently performed an act of kindness. I could tell she had been searching her memory when she finally stated that she had made pancakes for her boyfriend.
In this project, I've noticed that some people have a tendency to minimize the act of kindness they perform for their partners. Seems we don't place enough value on the little things we do for our friends, family and loved ones. Those little gestures are of huge significance because they set people up to do good things throughout the day. My husband makes my coffee 96% of the time and I can't even begin to thank him enough. This one little act of kindness is not so little for me...it's HUGE!
We just never know...a tiny little thing we do for someone could be the stone that starts the ripple of kindness. We don't have to be millionaire philanthropists to make a difference. It can begin with a smile, or a pancake.
"To stay in a constant state of evolution," Emily replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.
I asked Emily one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied after careful consideration, "defining my own success." Again, such an insightful answer from a person who's just beginning her life. She pretty much nailed the whole point of this question and the reason I've been asking it. How do you define success? Specifically, how do you define success for your own life?
Day 314 - Andi Caroline
This is Andi. He's another person I met by simply inviting myself to sit down with him at his patio table. Thankfully, he didn't mind me interrupting his break from work.
When I asked Andi the happiest thing happening in his life right now, the first answer he gave was, "getting to walk to work every day." He then revised it to be, "consciously simplifying my life." Andi has made the decision to simplify his life. He doesn't want to waste time or money. It was as though Andy had been reading my mind. Just earlier I had been thinking that the majority of the money I waste, ironically, was wasted by trying to save money. In addition to wasting money, I end up with closets or drawers full of stuff I just won't or can't use. I had decided it was time to do another exercise in simplifying and Andi was a great reminder the time is now. Living simply can feel liberating and obviously for Andi, it's bringing him great happiness.
I asked Andi if he had recently performed an act of kindness and I could tell he was feeling a little stressed and disappointed because he couldn't recall a specific act of kindness. He made a very good point that if he does an act of kindness, he doesn't write them down or log them mentally, so nothing was coming to mind. I think that's the same for a lot of us.
"Live by your values," Andi replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.
I asked Andi one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and after considering the question again, he replied, "growing brussels sprouts."
As we visited, Andi kept circling back to the "act of kindness" question, determined to provide an answer. When people start to feel bummed because they can't think of an answer, I normally remind them that they allowed me to take their picture. For some reason, I don't know why I didn't tell this to Andi. I t Andi seemed so disappointed in himself. He questioned if I was going to say that he hadn't performed an act of kindness. It was really bothering Andi! Poor guy! I was so happy and relieved when Andi reached the conclusion on his own when he announced - I let you take my picture! His inclusion in the project was his act of kindness! Yes! Andi gave me a huge amount of his kindness by letting me take his picture and share it with you. After agreeing with Andi that it was an act of kindness and actually a pretty big one since a lot of people don't enjoy having their picture taken, he confessed he's one of those people. He's much more comfortable being behind the camera. I have not doubt Andi performs acts of kindness on a daily basis - he's a nice person and his act of kindness, is his kindness.
Day 315 - Yesenia, Maria, and Angel
This is Yesenia (left), Maria (center), and Angel (right).
I headed down to Ester Short Park and the Vancouver Farmers Market in search of a subject. The park was gated off for a wine festival, so I was restricted to the Farmers Market and the area around there. It's difficult to explain, but I have the hardest time finding a subject in big events.
Not having any luck at the farmers market, I decided to just go sit on a bench outside the park and wait for someone. I noticed a steady stream of sharply dressed men and women flowing by me. The Hilton Hotel and Convention Center is just down the block from where I was sitting, so I gathered there must be an event happening. I decided to ask Yesenia, Maria and Angel if I could take their picture for the project and they confirmed they were attending a Hispanic business conference.
Given there were three people, I asked them each only two questions.
I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and they answered as follows: Yesenia - "the opportunity of being financially free." Maria (as interpreted by Yesenia) - "in a few months, I will be financially free and without a boss." Angel - "the opportunity to succeed."
I asked the the trio if they had a personal mission statement or if they could think of one on the spot, and I clarified the question by asking about their life's purpose. Yesenia replied, "faith can get you to where you want to be." Angel replied, "trying to better the life of hispanics and immigrants." Maria responded, (with interpretation provided by Yesenia) "to help other people and to put God as a priority. Thanks to him, we're free." Yesenia went on to say that we have two choices in life. We can choose good or bad. She wants people to know the good in life. She wants people to uphold family values.
I was totally kicking myself after meeting Yesenia, Maria and Angel. They were three beautiful and kind people and I could have better captured them had I had the right lens. I just had to make do. I almost didn't approach them, knowing I had on the completely wrong lens for a group picture, but I'm so glad I didn't let it stop me. I'm so glad I got to meet them and I'm inspired by their genuine desire for good things and prosperity for the Hispanic community. I just had to remind myself that limitations are only limitations if we allow them to be. Sometimes, we just need to figure out a way to work around them.
Here's the summary of the personal mission statements from this week's subjects:
- To live every moment.
- Be nice to people, leave a little footprint, and spread happiness.
- To be better and better.
- Take pride in your work.
- To stay in a constant state of evolution.
- Live by your values.
- Faith can get you to where you want to be.
- Trying to better the life of hispanics and immigrants.
- To help other people and to put God as a priority.
Thank you for following along on another week of this project.
If you've been a subject in this project - thank you for your kindness and your generosity in sharing yourself with us. I appreciate you, and thank your for letting me take your picture. If you like your picture, please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to e-mail you a copy.
Have a successful week - however you define success!