I received my Border Collie puppy, Piper, as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend this year and we have already decided that this Christmas will never be topped. No "thing" could ever be as precious, important, or special.
These first few months have definitely been interesting. I'm a super visual person and I find myself just watching her and thinking to myself. One day I thought... she is teaching ME things at the same time as I'm teaching her. I feel like this is most likely what every parent or teacher thinks. I decided to write the things down as I learned them and here they are:
Before Piper, I would go about my day, usually at 100 miles per minute with a specific "to-do" list that I would sometimes add things to just to cross them off. I would be editing photos, answering inquiries, packaging photos, going to work out class, trying to give my boyfriend and friends adequate attention, all while looking at Facebook and Instagram to read the latest goings on. My life was hectic, chaotic, and non-stop... that hasn't changed.
BUT what I learned from observing my dog is.... just because we have a "to-do" list, doesn't mean we shouldn't be curious about what is around us and take the time to take it all in. Put down the phone, clear your mind, look at things, and appreciate this life and what you have.
**This thought came to me as she was piddling around the yard (supposed to be doing her business) and, all of the sudden, she sat down, LOOKED UP, opened her mouth, and ate a snowflake.
I am not a shy person by any stretch of the imagination. Neither is Piper. She may bark at you and run in the other direction at first if you meet her on the street. Almost immediately after that she will put her ears back and wiggle her butt until you pet her. She will almost definitely pee on your shoes directly following. (Unless you are Lisa, then you are extra special and she will pee in your purse).
The point is, Piper greets you in the same way with the same excitement no matter what. Cute little kid, friends of the family, her grandparents, people covered in tattoos, neighbors, people going to church, bums on the street, etc. And they all love her. It has opened my heart and mind to let people in. To talk to people I would normally greet and pass by because I'm in a hurry. Don't judge a book by its cover and be nice to everyone. Everyone wants to be noticed, heard, and loved.
**This thought came to me a few days ago when we were outside walking in the early hours of the morning. A twenty-something man with his hood up was walking toward us. He definitely looked like he has had a hard life and I wasn't sure what to do. Piper did the same thing she always does- the man and I chatted for about 15 minutes and he went on his way!
Fill the bowl. Not hungry? Walks away.
This lesson is a simple one, but sometimes in the photography business or just in life, I feel like this gets more difficult to remember. Just because someone is doing something, going somewhere, buying something, whatever, doesn't mean you have to. I remember trying to set my prices the first year, third year, etc. and ending up each year deciding on prices I would look for as a client. PHOTOGRAPHY IS MY LOVE. If I can make a living doing what I love as a profession- I'm rich enough. I thought of Kacey Musgrave's lyrics in her song Dimestore Cowgirl.... "Just cause it don't cost a lot don't mean it's cheap."
**I randomly thought of this while Piper was in our yard and there were two large dogs in the yard next door. I took her over to play and the other dogs were playing super rough... she realized she didn't have to keep up and that she could do her own thing that makes her happy. She sat on the ground and started chewing a stick.
...and sometimes you do whatever you want. Doing what you want is fun; woohoo paaaartaay! Generally, though, your parents are right Usually the reasons why they are voicing their opinions are for protection and well-being. And because they love you and know you better than anyone else.
**I learn this every day.
Lots of Love,
West Virginia Wedding, Family, & Lifestyle photographer