Daniel Brock has very kindly agreed to share an extremely thought provoking post with us here at Ready Steady Pro. RSP Community member and super-talented photographer Danny wrote this post (which originally features over on his own website) and it moved quite a few of us over in the Ready Steady Pro community. So we asked Danny if he would be so kind as to re-blog the post right here on the RSP blog.
You can also check out this post in it’s original format over on Danny’s website: http://www.photosbydannyb.com/blog/2014/4/22/living-the-dream
I am sitting in my living room reading a blog post by someone who one day I would like to have a beer with (David DuChemin) waiting for our toddler to finish “pooping” in his diaper, listening to the all too familiar grunts and groans, anticipating with held breath the stench that will signal my time to deal with the latest “oh the humanity!” diaper change.
I mention these two things as a juxtaposition, reading something by David DuChemin and my role as a stay at home dad. Mr DuChemin travels the world photographing incredible places, living extraordinary adventures while I change a dirty bum…
Now before you feel sorry for me or lecture me with the cliche (which I have preached to crowds of youth many a time) “follow your dreams”, I am! This is my dream, I have a great life. An incredible, beautiful, smart, talented wife, two beautiful boys who are indeed the “apple of my eye”, a house I would be happy to live in for the rest of my life, a dog and a cat. My life is a dream.
I have started over with little more than the clothes on my back four times in my 45 years (not counting the day I was born). Three of those times was to begin a new adventure, moving to a different continent, to a new phase of my life. One time was when the person I loved the most left me a note to say goodbye and “papers” from a lawyer.
Back to what I am reading by David DuChemin, in a blog post he titled ‘Choose your risk‘ David writes:
“The culture we live in would rather watch great stories on movie screens than live them. Why? I think it’s fear of risk. The bigger the risk the greater the potential reward but also the greater the potential for “Oh God, Oh God, we’re all going to die!” or something similar. Fear is the loudest voice in many of our lives. Fear of rejection leads us to buy some crazy stuff, as well as keep our voice down when it should be loudly telling others “I love you.” Fear of the unknown keeps us close to home. Fear of fear keeps us in therapy. So we’d rather watch Braveheart and imagine ourselves with that kind of courage than risk finding out for ourselves if we have it.”
Back to the life of a stay at home dad living the dream, beside the dad gig I also take pictures and get paid to take them. I have dreams for where the future of this picture taking will go and to be honest I hope it’s not at weddings. 😉
Now to the point of why I am writing; while I am living the dream now but I still have dreams for tomorrow.
Starting over so many times has taught me quite a bit about life and what’s important and maybe even what’s not. Let me list a few of these lessons learnt.
i. LIFE IS A RISK.
In my early twenties I moved abroad, thousands of miles away from my family and my comfort zone (fist starting over). No it wasn’t some third world country, it was the US, I moved to a resort town in Southern California. It was during this time I started experience a strange numbness throughout my body that was put down to stress.
It wasn’t until approximately four years later after I had returned back to Australia (start over #2), numerous weird numbness episodes, a serious rock climbing accident where I almost lost my foot and the insistence of friends and family I went to see a Neurologist. After I was prodded, probed and scanned I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
When the Doc told me I had MS an unpredictable Neurological disease he repeated it twice because I think he thought I hadn’t heard. He was surprised I hadn’t reacted so he went into further detail and asked me if I understood. I had understood but I wasn’t worried because of my faith in God and because I knew life is a risk.
When I was in the States a good friend, one of the strongest guys I knew went skiing one day and broke his neck. The prognosis the Doc was giving me as a possibility in the future happened to him with a misjudged ski jump.
ii. STUFF DOESN’T MATTER, PEOPLE DO!
I had early on chosen. to give my life to others, being not smart enough to be a Doctor I chose the ministry. Regardless of people’s opinions, those who work in the church are not in it for the money. I went from the construction industry (good money) into Youth Ministry (not good money).
I met a someone, fell in love, got married and began our lives together. After almost seven years married, serving people together it ended for me with a note and those papers from a lawyer. Shattered, destroyed and lost but I had those people I was ministering to, those people I was in a church with… yeah? no!
People disappeared, we’re too busy, too elsewhere. To be fair people didn’t know what to say I guess but still my friends were gone.
What I found through this dark time was that while some people may abandon you, others will stand with you. Those who I considered as good friends were absent but some who were a little more than acquaintances stood with me.
I was starting over again with no career, no family nearby but some of those acquaintances became real friends, became “closer than a brother”. They stood beside me when I married the woman of my dreams, the one who would become the mother of my beautiful boys, they stood with me and gave me the strength to stay in a foreign land where I met her. In a bit over a week, on the 26th of April I have been married to the woman of my dreams for seven years.
iii. LIFE IS NOT EASY BUT IT’S WORTH IT.
I love challenge, well I at least I like the idea of challenge.
But really challenge is when we grow, it’s when we come through on the other side of the challenging times in our life that we will see how much we have grown. I have always liked how the Bible puts it in Romans 5, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Nothing of value comes without a price, without costing us. From a healthy marriage to becoming a skilled photographer requires hard work, requires an investment of time. The book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell argues that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field.
The problem for many of us is that we give up long before we reach 10,000 hours of anything. Or we use the excuse that we don’t have the time to invest, if it’s important to you, you will pay the price!
Just don’t give up! I have seen people who lose everything, brush themselves off and then move on and live the dream. While others I see “living” in heartbreak, in disappointment, in fear of moving on so as a result they live the nightmare, again and again.
iv. HAVE A DREAM!
When you lose everything you can still have a dream.
This is where I could go into the stories of those people who were told they couldn’t do something because of various reasons and shortfalls only to pursue their dreams regardless and then achieve the impossible.
Well I’m not going to but I will say nothing can be achieved without a dream/vision/hope, whatever you want to call it.
I have this really weird, obtuse favourite verse from the Bible and it can be found in Ecclesiastes 9:4, “even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” If you’re not dead then you can still dream, you can still work towards accomplishing that dream.
When our first son was born I made him a magnet board (doesn’t matter what it was, not the point) and I wrote on the back a simple message for him, “Always dream, Always imagine!”
So as I sit here reading the words of a photographer who I have never met, who I want to be like, I can always dream and always imagine…
PS. During the writing of this post I have changed two diapers, fed the toddler lunch, put him down for his first nap and am about to put him down for his second nap. Living the dream man, living the dream!!
Danny is “Papa” of Dylan and Cody, husband of Hsueh Yee (Michelle) and takes pictures on the side.
Be sure to check out Danny online in all the usual places: