Happy Photo Friday! And welcome to Mardi Gras! I got the party started early last week, but everything really gears up this weekend and continues through Tuesday. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend all week, and it’s not just because we will have five days off. The next five days will be filled with old friends, new friends, good food, good drinks, and good times. Life doesn’t get much better, does it?
I’m not a portrait photographer. People aren’t really my thing…when it comes to photography, at least. There are too many things that can go wrong. I’m frequently disappointed with how I look in photos, and while I would never blame the photographer who actually took the photos, I’d hate to let people down when taking their pictures. It’s truly a different skill set.
Mardi Gras is different for me. I love capturing the people of Mardi Gras. The images that I capture aren’t wonderful, award-winning photos, but I love them nonetheless. This week’s Photo Friday is just a celebration of the absolute joy that is Mardi Gras.
One of the things that I love the most about Mardi Gras is that there is a great deal of diversity in the range of emotions you see in the participants of the parades. There are those who are just so excited to be a part of it, and then there are those who are just exhausted by time they roll by you.
As I look through the images for this week’s Photo Friday post, I’m struck by the notion of joy and even happiness. Perhaps it’s on my mind this week because it is IEP – Individualized Education Plan – season (if you’re a special education teacher, the months of February/March are your “busy” season because the IEPS for coming school year must be completed). When you work with high school students, the driving force behind their IEPS are their transition goals. Transition goals are essentially what the student wants to do after he leaves school.
I’ve been struggling to get a student to set realistic goals for himself because as a 15 year old who has never played on a team, he’s not going to make it to the NBA. As my team and I have talked with this student, he’s consistently had two reasons for wanting to be a basketball star: he doesn’t want to have to struggle and he wants to pursue his passions.
I hear you son,
I hear you. The problem is that even people with a ton of money still struggle. While money can be insulating, it is not a magic wand. The struggle doesn’t ever go away; it just wears different clothes and takes you for different rides in nicer cars.
Since Christmas, I’ve felt like I’m being haunted by the ghosts of the lessons my father spent his life struggling to learn. I hear his voice in the situations in which I find myself; I see him in my students, particularly this one who feels like following his bliss is the answer to his problems. My father springs to mind…he could have lived a comfortable life as an electrician but instead, he pursued his passion and never quite made it.
I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I’m not a do-what-you-love-and-the-money-follows kinda girl. I actually told my student in a moment of frustration that he’s been fed a lie if he believes that doing what he loves is the only path to a happy life.
Every time I hear if we just do what we love, everything else will fall into place, I think about people like my grandparents and the people in these photos. I’m willing to bet that most of them work a job that pays their bills. It may be one that they love; it could be one that is OK; it might be one they hate. They do their jobs and then spend the rest of their lives building their lives. Down here, they’re part of a krewe that rides in parades, or they are dancing in the streets. Maybe they’re just enjoying a beer in the sunshine.
They living good lives. They are for the most part happy. There may be moments of hand-wringing, hair-losing stress, but they are balanced by exquisite moments of easy contentment. And it’s enough. Our work is not our lives; our work bankrolls our lives. I have wonderful moments at work but most of the memorably moments happen with my family and friends, which I think is OK.
I’m not sure how to help my student understand that while we should like the work we do, we don’t have to love it. We should love our lives, and work is only a small – but important – part of those lives. Our jobs are means to an end – a way to spend money on a camera and a road trip, for example.
Maybe it’s a lesson my student will have to learn the hard way. In the meantime, I’ll continue to look for ways to enjoy the life my work allows me to live. There are parades to attend, beads to catch, jello shots to consume, and laughs to be shared.
I hope that life you’re living is the one that makes you the happiest and that you’ve got some great plans for good times over the weekend. I’ll be out collecting more Photo Friday images and tangentially related thoughts. Tell me – where do you fall in the work/passion debate?
Photo Friday Link-Up
Welcome to another edition of the Photo Friday link-up! Thanks for joining us again this week!
Last week was another tie for most viewed links. Lydia at Where the Wild Things Were took us to Sydney for a sail about the harbor. Sara from Sara’s Favorite Photo Blog shared the steps to success, and Traveling Cats took us to South Africa.
Our final link was from Jozzi who took us to the Peter and Paul Church in Lutsk. As always, if you didn’t get a chance to see some of the later links, go take a look and leave a comment! There is always some awesome stuff added in those later links.
I can’t wait to see what y’all have for us this week!