Live Your Dash - Live Your Passion

I'm taking a little different tone with today's blog post.  Readers of this site will notice I haven't posted since January 2nd, which is odd for me.  I was called away on a sad note.  A friend of mine whom I've known since I was five, had her husband unexpectedly pass away from a sudden heart attack, so I flew to be with her and her family.  Besides the usual sad, I'm honestly not sure how to put words to my emotions in a situation like this.  Since we were kids, we were always able to make the other feel better, but there's nothing I can do to make her hurt and pain go away.

I've been thinking a lot this week about everything, and I realized that I'm very lucky, not only in my personal life with a great family, but in my professional life as well.  Am I making enough money as a photographer to live? Not yet, but the point is that I get to try.  I get to try and pursue something that I'm passionate about.  I get to meet cool people.  I get to shoot cool bands.  I get to attend cool sporting events.  I love being able to sit on the side of the superpipe and shoot Shaun White pulling a trick 20 feet in the air, at the same time as trying.  I love being front row in the pit at Warrant and having the band members mug for shots for me, and let me shoot the entire set.  I'm in awe attending Photoshop World, and not only meeting people whom I only talk to online most of the year, but meeting and speaking to instructors whom I look up to (Alan Hess, Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Dave Black, Joel Grimes on my short list for now).

I think this is a poem that sums it up pretty well. My friend read it at the funeral, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.  When you say you can't follow your passion because it's too hard, or not lucrative, or some other reason, find the time somehow to do it, you'll be much happier with how you spend your life.  I've come across too many bitter and pissed off people lately, and realized I don't want to be one of them.

How Do You Live Your Dash?
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning….. to the end
He noted he first came to her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. 

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on this earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own:
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard….
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider whats true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile….
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Author Linda Ellis