We're finished with week 14! I'm so thankful that we managed to find 7 people who braved the cold and paused long enough to allow me to take their picture and ask a few questions. The storm (or Kim Kardashian) broke my internet and I was unable to post day 94 to Instagram. I was so distressed that I couldn't post. I didn't want my instagram friends to think I had given up on the project. After I accepted the fact that I couldn't post the daily picture, I then began to embrace the fact that I had the night off. Even though I had taken the picture, which is the hard part, it felt like I was able to just relax for the evening. Having a night off gave me the opportunity to consider the future of this project. I wondered if I'm going to become a crazy old lady who walks around taking pictures of people. I certainly don't want to be that, but now that I've been doing this, I can't imagine not being a crazy old lady who walks around taking pictures of people. What if this is my thing? What if this is supposed to be my thing?
When I ask people about their personal mission statement or life's purpose, it's my hope that if they don't already have an answer, then it will help plant the seed for people to identify what it is they want from life, and what they want to give in life. I confess, I'm also on a quest to learn about what I want from my own life too. It would be ironic that if in the process of trying to help others plant seeds for what they want in life, and water the seeds I've planted for myself, that I was actually doing what I was supposed to do. What if I've found my life's purpose?
I don't know the future of this project or this "blog," but what I do know is that right now, I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and I appreciate you being here and being a part of it.
Day 91 - Shelby
This is Shelby. Not shown, is her therapy-dog-in-training, Vinnie. We met at Esther Short Park.
I asked Shelby the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she answered, the fall/winter time. I thought of Shelby a few days later during the storm and wondered if she had reconsidered her love of the season.
Shelby's recent act of kindness is that she bought a hamburger for a homeless gentleman.
"Be happy, enjoy the small things, and live life to the fullest," Shelby answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.
I asked Shelby something about herself which she considers to be a success and she answered, "training Vinnie to help people."
I visited with Shelby and Vinnie a little while longer and tried to capture a picture of them both. It was dark and although I'm getting lots of practice, I still can't get a human and a dog in the dark, without a flash. But, if you use a flash, then the dog's eyes light up like a alien-eyes. Vinnie was the second Frenchie (part frenchie) in three days and having embarrassed myself last week with Michael and Biscuits, I was sure not to mention anything unmentionable to Shelby and Vinnie.
Day 92 - Dat
This is Dat. He was on break from working construction in a recently vacated retail space, so I asked if I could take his picture for the project.
I asked Dat the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "I'm getting married very soon."
I asked Dat if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he said that he helps out a lot of people.
Dat and I worked through our language challenges and I wanted to keep the question straight-forward, so I simply asked his life's purpose. Dat answered, "job and marriage."
I asked Dat something about himself which he would consider to be a success, and then clarified, asking him something he's good at. Dat answered, "I'm good at construction."
Wishing you and your wife a lifetime of love and happiness, Dat.
Day 93 - Ben
This is Ben. We work together. We had just spent the last 3 hours doing a photoshoot and after we were finished, I realized I still needed a picture for the project. (Even though I had just shot 697 photos, I wanted one specifically for the project. Otherwise, it felt like I was cheating.) Ben agreed to let me take his picture for the project.
I asked Ben the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "the progression of my adult life...growing."
When I asked Ben if he had recently performed an act of kindness, our other co-worker answered for him, reminding Ben that he just bought his lunch that day.
I asked Ben if he had a personal mission statement, or about his life's purpose and he answered, "I'm still trying to figure that out...to exploit my talents and passions."
"Getting a job [here] without experience," Ben answered, when I asked something about himself which he considered to be a success. "What?" I asked Ben. I remembered when Ben first contacted our work to ask if we were hiring. He called after hours and I just happened to answer the phone, but I didn't remember that he didn't have any experience. We laughed and Ben reminded me that he told me on the phone that he had printed in a garage/basement shop. I remembered that I was impressed by Ben on the phone and thought he would make a good teammate, and I wanted to make sure Ben's resume made it to the manager rather than have it get lost amongst the others. It doesn't matter now what experience he may have had or didn't have at the time, what matters now is that he's become a very skilled and excellent printer.
We had been having an on-going conversation about "fake it till you make it," and this was pretty much the icing on the "fake-it-till-you-make-it cake." We discussed that "fake it till you make it" can sometimes have a negative connotation, but instead, it's really a way of saying, "don't sell yourself short." Ben clearly had the desire to live and work in Portland and he didn't let his limited experience hold him back. He believed in himself and he's elevated himself to become one of the best printers in Portland. He didn't sell himself short. The doors may not have been standing wide open for Ben, but he wedged his foot in the crack and invited himself right in. That's what we have to do sometimes. Most times. Very few of us go through life with endless opportunities. Most of us have to go jamming our foot in doors until those doors open up a little wider. Just keep doing it. Eventually, we'll get in.
This is Ben's first appearance in the project, but Ben has been one of my favorite subjects. I've caught him a few times at after-work get-togethers and a couple of those photos have been my favorites.
Thank you, Ben!
Day 94 - Melanie
This is Melanie. We met walking down the street. It was so cold this night...freezing and windy! I was concerned I wouldn't be able to find anyone and I felt awful about asking a person to stop in the cold so that I could take their picture and ask a few questions. Luckily, I met Melanie. She was so nice, and dressed appropriately for the conditions. She didn't seem to mind the arctic temperatures.
"Trying to have a baby," Melanie answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
I asked Melanie if she had recently performed an act of kindness and Melanie explained that she had found a wallet belonging to an elderly man and it contained $900 cash inside. She returned the wallet and the money! This was a huge act of kindness! There are so many people who wouldn't resist the temptation of keeping the money. It was also very much an act of kindness for Melanie to let me take her picture in the freezing temperatures.
"To enjoy the ride of life," Melanie answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.
I asked Melanie something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered, "my business." Check out Melanie's business, the Taco Pedaler! Taco Love + Bike Love = The Taco Pedaler!
Day 95 - Clark
This is Clark. The weather conditions were worse this day than they were the day before and I was so worried about going out to find a subject...and just then, Clark came into the office right at closing time. It was perfect timing and Clark agreed to be in the project.
After taking Clark's picture, I realized that I've known Clark, through work, for close to 18 years or so. Clark's business has continued to grow and thrive in the ever-changing industry. Clark was a young entrepreneur who found success and longevity with his Shirts & Skins line, and that it's still thriving after 20 years, is truly remarkable.
"My boy," Clark answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Clark has a 2 year old son, and Clark said his son and his family give him happiness.
I asked Clark if he's recently performed an act of kindness. He said that he helped pay for the weekend homecoming expenses for an unemployed friend.
When I asked Clark if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he considered the question a while and then answered, "it's simple...treat others the way you want to be treated."
I asked Clark something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my son, family, and business."
Thank you, Clark!
Day 96 - Leo
This is Leo. He and his friend were waiting outside of Hollywood Theatre. I approached Leo, and his friend Jason, and asked if I could take a picture of one or both of them. Jason quickly volunteered Leo to be the subject. I just love it when friends offer up their friends to be in the project. I know if stranger approached a friend and me and asked for a picture, I'd physically scoot my friend in front of the camera, while simultaneously shoving myself out of photo range. So, I totally appreciate the camera-shy people who eagerly serve up their friends to me.
When I asked Leo about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, his friend Jason piped in saying he's happy to be hanging out with his friend, Jason. We laughed and Leo answered, "going to see "Interstellar" with Jason."
I asked Leo if he's recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. I've realized that I flailed in my note-taking. I was cracking up over Jason continuing to pipe in on Leo's interview and didn't do a good job noting who did/said what. So, either Jason just bought Leo cheese sticks, or Leo bought Jason cheese sticks. Let's just say they're good friends and they treat each other.
"To not put all of your faith in other things or other people, because you should have more faith in yourself," Leo answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.
I asked Jason something about himself which he considers to be a success and he answered, "my film-making." Check out Jason's film, "Astrobot Apocalypse" below.
Day 97 - Mike
This is Mike. We met on the street.
I asked Mike the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "my girlfriend."
When I asked Mike if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he had just given a cigarette to a homeless person about a minute prior.
"To live life to the fullest extent, in every way," Mike answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
When I asked Mike something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he circled back to his relationship with his girlfriend. Mike explained they met when they were 16 and they're still together now, 8 years later. I love all of the family-men we've met in this project. I've learned men assign entirely more significance to their relationships and families, than what society sometimes gives them credit for. Wishing you and your girlfriend the best, Mike!
Here's the summary of wisdom from this week's subjects:
- Be happy, enjoy the small things, and live life to the fullest.
- Job and marriage.
- To exploit my talents and passions
- To enjoy the ride of life,
- Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- To not put all of your faith in other things or other people, because you should have more faith in yourself.
- To live life to the fullest extent, in every way.
Thank you to each and every subject in this project and thank you for following along!
Have a great week!