Like every year, I did less and more than I thought I would in 2011.
I visited New Zealand for the first time, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. I flew up in a helicopter and landed next to a pristine mountain lake inaccessible otherwise. Its beauty took my breath away. One of the highlights of the year, as well as my life. If there is a Heaven, it probably looks like this.
I lost my first car, a classic 1991 BMW E30. I loved little 20-year old Snoopy, and my dad was especially attached to her. Her gearbox had died and it didn’t make economic sense to repair her. My heart still aches a bit when I see old photos of her.
I got engaged during a lovely, happy weekend getaway.
I unearthed my purpose: “A life on purpose is one of fulfillment through growth and appreciation. It is a life of artistic expression and courageous exploration, inspired by love, wisdom and honor.”
I learned how to cook, both healthy and not so healthy dishes.
I revisited my friend the monk in Thailand and filmed an interview with him there. It was the fulfillment of a couple of dreams, and a risk taken on a new one. The final video interview isn’t perfect, but I’m proud of it and I gained more from the trip than I could have imagined beforehand. Thank God for dear, frank friends who pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to do it.
I started meditating again, semi-regularly, and can already feel the benefits. Better focus, more empathy, a clearer mind and an improving memory.
I attended the funeral of one of my classmates. She was one of the brightest spirits I knew, and her loss made me very sad. It made me feel old – really old – for the first time. It broke my heart seeing my best friends cry. A stark reminder of how little time each of us has together and to make the best of it.
I attended the wedding of one of my oldest and best friends. It made me very happy to see one of the most beautiful couples I know finally get married. I photographed the event and was glad I could help them capture some of the precious moments on their special day. It made me remember why I love photography so.
Most of all, I deeply enjoyed spending time with loved ones, drinking deeply of the unique times I got to spend with each of them – moments which, once gone, would never come again. That’s what endings remind us, I think, that if we get the chance to have a new beginning we should treasure it this time round with more even love and awareness than before.
I hope you had a happy 2011 full of love, and I wish you and I a 2012 filled with more lived-in moments.