“I’m bored of just watching TV and going to bed every night, aren’t you?”
My nephew’s words carry a kick, because by now I’d gotten so accustomed to exactly those dull, do-nothing nights – to the new “JOMO” trend and the lazy comfiness of my pyjamas – that I’d stopped noticing just how boring it was.
We’re in the car, driving back from a day hiking at Cheddar Gorge, where Cole’s enthusiasm for learning the tricks of my DSLR has been reminding me how much fun I used to have when I was a dorky, enthusiastic little photography student experimenting with long exposures, colour contrasts, liquid photographic emulsion. I’m suddenly nostalgic for the uni days, when my friends and I would spend an afternoon setting up an elaborate photo shoot with colourful wigs and creative angles. The days when I could spend hours in a dark room trying to get my photo just so. When did I stop pushing myself to experiment and create?
Cole wants me to pick him up after his shift at work (pot washing at the Chinese for minimum wage – another thing that sparks an unusual nostalgia for all the terrible teenage jobs I once held down) and drive him to Weymouth beach. He just wants to be on the beach at night, he says, and starts asking me about night photography – more as an excuse to go than anything else.
I know what he’s getting at. There’s something about being on a beach at night lets you know you’re up late, out when you shouldn’t be. Nostalgia hits me again, for that unique buzz of Fireworks Night when I was small, or parties I never told my parents about, passing a shared bottle of vodka around a campfire at Castle Cove.
But Cole finishes work at 9.30, a time I’d normally be deep into a serious Netflix-and-chill session, or already in bed watching old reruns of Friends. Something about the phrasing of his sentence hits a nerve.
Aren’t you bored of just watching TV and going to bed every night?
So at 10pm, I find myself blinking back tiredness as we park up and cross over to the beach. It’s sharply cold, autumn biting on the wind, but the fresh air wakes me up and in no time I’m as excited as Cole, racing across the beach, pebbles shushing softly underfoot. We are the only people in sight. The moon casts a shimmering road of ice white on the waves, the stars overhead are dazzling, the scent of warm sand lingers on the cool air.
We play with long exposures, using torches to paint with light. Every new photo elicits a fresh burst of excitement from Cole (he’s an enthusiastic kid), and I’m caught up in it, too. Experimenting. Being creative. Remembering that my camera is a toy as much as it is a tool.
I’d not really noticed just how bored I was of sitting at home every night, until I found myself outside, doing something different. It’s so easy to let life get stagnant, to fall into those cosy routines. But lately, my life has become a screen-bound repetition of work, TV, Playstation, repeat.
It’s not necessarily a problem. I like good TV, I like relaxing. I work
hard quite hard at my blog all day and evenings are for switching off. But this weekend reminded me that I miss pushing myself too. I miss whatever feeling it was that made me love photography enough to study it for four years at University. Experimenting and trying new things and having fun with it all.
It’s important to mix it up every now and then – especially now that I’m not travelling as much or as far as I’d like. Perhaps it’s time to find some new hobbies to get me off the couch in the evenings…
In the interest of being more creative and less lazy, I thought I’d set myself a challenge to write at least one new blog post a week. Nothing fancy, just a short-and-sweet, chatty, personal post about whatever’s on my mind.
You know – sort of like the “old days” of blogging!! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts… so please do scroll down and leave a comment!