Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Self-Portrait | September 2013

I used to be a chronic sufferer of "I'll Be Happy When" Syndrome. You know the one, it goes something like this: I'll be happy just as soon as I... grow up, graduate from high school, graduate from college, get a job, quit my job, become my own boss, go back to college, lose 20 lbs, get married, get divorced, buy a house, sell a house, live where it doesn't snow, adopt a dog, adopt a cat, etc, etc, etc, etc.

For years, I actually believed that I would, in fact, be happy once I had traversed my way through whatever hardship I believed was keeping me from my happiness. I would picture my future self on the other side of the perceived obstacle full of contentment and be sure that if I just hung in there that perfect life was waiting for me.

But no matter how hard I pictured that perfect life, it never showed up.

There was always something else waiting right around the corner that I needed to "get through" before I was going to be truly happy. As the months turned into years and the things I had managed to get through began piling up without resulting in the happiness I was positive was coming, I starting losing faith in the notion that I ever would be happy and content with my life.

Because let's be honest for a minute. After you've moved across the country FOUR. DIFFERENT. TIMES. in search of a happiness that you never found, you can't help but realize that perhaps there is a major flaw in your theory.

Once I realized that the happiness I'd been promising myself wasn't actually waiting around the corner like I'd always believed, I just gave up.  I quit believing.  I quit hoping.  I quit dreaming. I quit planning. I quit living.  And I've been doing nothing but going through the motions of life ever since.

Only I didn't realize that I was doing it.  Until now.

So, why the wake up call all of a sudden?

I just turned 39 a few days ago.  39!

And I just might be a wee little bit freaked out about that.

When you reach the point where you no longer know if you have more years ahead of you than you have behind you, it changes the way you view things.  I'm starting to realize that I need to take a good hard look at my life and decide what needs to go, what needs to stay, and what needs to change.  I need to figure out how to find peace with myself and my life because I refuse to enter the first year of my 40s the same way I entered the last year of my 30s.

Did you miss some of my past self-portraits?  Clicking here will take you to all of my self-portrait blog posts. Clicking here will take you to my self-portrait Facebook album.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
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