Some blather on the good...the bad...and the foo king ugg lee...FWIW.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

You Can't Take It With You...or can you?

You Can’t Take It With You was a Pulitzer Prize winning play by George Kauffman and Moss Hart in the 30s, made into movie in 1938 starring Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, and Jean Arthur. And, traditionally, that line kind of referred to what you can’t do when you die.

It’s a timely saying that has withstood time and trends. It is still very relevant in today’s world. Although my twist on it goes something like this, “You Die...You’re Dead...You’re Done”.

One must go for the gusto whilst one is still able. Go for it! Do it while you still can. Why not...you might be gone tomorrow? And on and on.

For better or for worse, I think I have somewhat lead my life in that fashion...at least the last two years. Not to the extent that I have tried to do all the things that I truly want to do, but at least to the extent that I am trying to fullfill some of the things I have only dreamed of. I have posted a list on this blog, 100 things I have yet to do (and would really like to do).

Besides having a mindset that challenges me to even think about these adventures, I have accomplished a few. Many of which I did years ago...decades ago.

I guess I really am, and have been since I was a child, a restless soul. Some might call it A.A.D.D....others call it wanderlust. One of my long time mentors? Ernest Hemmingway. A few others are Christopher Columbus...John Steinbeck...Ansel Adams.

The latter, Ansel Adams, I can most relate to at this time in my life. In fact, he did have something akin to A.A.D.D. His father tried to nuture his restlessness with classical piano lessons and other schooling. He was eventually given a simple, Kodak Brownie camera by his father...and that birthday present changed his life forever. He spent the rest of his life after receiving that present roaming the country in search of the perfect photograph. Most of his work was done in Yosemite of course. But his unrelenting focus was taking that one photograph that would represent that one special moment he experienced in person. He struggled to put that emotion on film. Most people would say that he certainly accomplished that goal hundredfold. He would disagree. His own self-doubt and self-criticism is what kept him going...and going...striving to get better images each time he went out on those wilderness excursions.

I have moved my “home” several times in my life. More than any other person in my immediate family or peer group. At 19, I went in the Navy (in 1969). During that time, I experienced locations including San Diego (twice), Mountain View, CA, Millington (Memphis), TN, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Midway Island, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong...and Vietnam.

After the service, I lived in L.A. (where I grew up), San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Idaho (twice), Fresno, and now Modesto (Salida). All this time since being overseas in the Navy, I’ve wanted to live in many other places as well. I guess I am just not “there” yet.

One saying I have carried with over years though is, “No matter where you go...you’re still you”. That has kept me from moving around even more I suppose.

I truly believe my daughter Jenifer has this wanderlust bug as well. She is very adventurous, creative, and not affraid to search for new experiences. After having moved away from her “hometown” a year ago, it remains to be seen how long she will be satisfied with her new “hometown”: Seattle. Being a bit more pragmatic that I ever was (and being female), she will probably stay in one place longer than I did. Maybe not.

Her and Roth are coming to visit this weekend. They will stay with us a couple of days before driving with us to her “hometown” of San Luis Obispo/Arroyo Grande. It will be her first time back in over a year. She is very reflective in her latest blog entry concerning this visit...wondering what it will like, what has changed there, how she has changed, and so on. Her mother and brother still live on the Central Coast, as well as a few old friends...one of which is getting married this weekend, the initial reason for the journey from Seatlle. Jenifer will have the opportunity to visit them and maybe see a few of the places that were a big part of her growing up time.

In every instance when I moved away, I went through a period of anxiety after I got there. A period of self-doubt and remorse, “Should I have done this? I’m not sure I really like it here”. Jenifer has had those feelings as well concerning her move to Seatlle...with one big difference from me. She truly loves her new home! Her and Roth are really enjoying Seattle...at least outwardly they exhibit that emotion about their new-found home. They’ve recently purchased a house there. But I did that as well in Idaho...and hated it there! What she is feeling is something that I have not been able to say about my many moves. I guess I’m still looking for that certain “fit” that she has found in the northwest. Quite possibly, she is bit more self-actualized than I will ever be. Good for her...she’s lucky to have that. She is very strong-willed and appears to know what she wants...most of the time.

Wherever you go, the one thing that never changes...is you. No matter what job or profession you are in, the one thing that remains the same is that person called “you”. Maybe being a photographer now will fullfill this wanderlust I have. To actually grow as a photographer, I feel one must possess this wanderlust. That feeling of wanting to experience what is on the other side of that hill, around that bend...what tomorrow will hold. And, of course, capture it on film!

You can’t take it with you. When you die...you’re dead...you’re done. If you believe there is something more gracious and wonderful after you pass on...more power to you. I don’t know...and neither do you.

I just know that there are places and things to experience while we are here, while we still are able. My niece and nephew just got back from Europe. They are 19 and 21 respectively. “We needed to do this now, because who knows when we will be able to again”. You bet. Jenifer and Roth moved to their favorite city, now...while they can, because who knows when they will be able to again.

The last time we were in Monterey, I noted, “Why would anyone NOT want to live here?” Maybe that’s our next home. Who knows?

One thing I do know? It ain’t here!


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