It is summertime again, vacation time. You go to your uncle’s house. He takes you on a tour around the city. There are many old buildings, but the oldest of all is on Main Street. The address is 880. He says that it is haunted, but you don’t believe him.
The paperback series “Choose Your Own Adventure” published throughout my childhood, really nailed it. The story provided the reader the option to make decisions throughout the book, in turn directly defining the ending on their own. It had multiple conclusions and multiple paths. Each choice results in another decision that formulates your adventure. I think life can be most compared to “Choose Your Own Adventure,” it’s made up of thousands of small decisions that build to larger decisions that really outline your entire childhood and adulthood.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, I made a lot of decisions; some educated, some risks and a lot of failure. The good decisions were sometimes overshadowed by the poor decisions. Each choice shaped the circumstances of my way of living, both professionally and personally. It was a year that really challenged me, a year that really changed me and a year that really defined who I am and hope to be.
It started out on high; my photography was really starting to evolve, I had just been published in several major national publications and plans were in place. I was busy, very busy, but I never chose a life any different. Personally, I was dating a beautiful woman who had common interests and I really thought to be the one. Similar to any relationship, we had had our low points, but we shared a strong bond. Having been divorced from a short-lived marriage in a “previous life,” I felt as if I had finally met someone who I could really share my life with. But, I made a choice. It wasn’t a bad choice or something malicious, it was unconscious. A choice built into my being; career first.
And, life handed me a serious case of heartbreak. The worst kind of heartbreak. Passionate heartbreak. The kind of heartbreak that didn’t fizzle or fade, a pain that burned stronger the more time that passed. My friends told me to “consume your life with work” and “stay busy.” But, that was already my daily life ingrained. So, I used photography to explore the thresholds of emotion. I used it as an outlet, similar to what I did during my days in music; I bottled emotion and exploded on the stage or on tape. Looking back, it was the worst kind of heartbreak, but also the best kind of heartbreak. It was life-changing.
I felt guilty over the failed relationship in some ways, but in others I felt inspired. Once the initial onslaught of 21-year-old non-stop-party lifestyle ceased, I finally decided to take on the momentous task of reaching out to my old-friend Sol Perry, a nutritionist and trainer who had successful lost over 100 pounds himself. It wasn’t easy finally coming to the realization of how poor I had treated my body over the past 5 years. We set goals, shifted my lifestyle and started on a path of work-life-balance and wellness.
Once the door was closed and I was truly alone, suddenly I was handed opportunities I could have never imagined. It felt like a snowball, one success after another. One opportunity after another. I’m not sure any mystical genie or crystal ball could have predicted the maturity and adventure of the past 365 days. Let’s review…
There is a lot of “I and I” in that bullet-point review, but I can’t take all the glory. Every project requires a team and I’m confident I have one of the most efficient, hard-working teams on the planet. All of the success is a direct result of that team. My mission is to deliver a fantastic product for my clients, fulfill a craving for creativity and most importantly inspire others. None of it would be possible without the dedication the following people: Chris Miske, Jacob Roberts, Kelsey Page, Zach Erwin, Carly Secrest, Dana Rogers, Dave Meall, Jordan Hartley, Bethany Hood, Anastasia Page, Blake McGrew and Justin Gustavision.
In order to recount this year, I returned to my 2014 Review as if to look for a hint of a telepathy superpower; I found nothing but excitement and peace. That state of action remains the same 52 weeks later, but now I feel ravenous and strong. I can’t predict the future or read my own palms, but I can make wise choices and those decisions will design my path. It has been a year of growth, enrichment and change. I’ve had to bear some hard lessons, but it has been the choices I’ve made that have characterized who I am today; secure, energetic and determined to accomplish every goal I have set in that path.