“So, what do you do?” God, that question. I never know how to answer that. I don’t have a neat little job description like insurance actuary, doctor, real estate agent. Those would explain in a few words, exactly what you’ve been up to for decades. When people ask me what I do my awkward response usually begins with, “Umm…” It probably leads them to the conclusion that my work involves things that I would rather not explain.
Like my friends who also trip over that question-my background reads like several different people tossed their odd jobs onto a community resume and the amalgamation was used for my new identity after fleeing a war torn nation. I’ve been a writer, a tour guide, a gift shop owner, a metaphysical counselor complete with tarot card readings, past life regressions and hypnotherapy. Very early on, I was a directory assistance operator (Remember 411? Yep. That.) I was even an airport security person in Phoenix long before a post 9/11 world. I’ve worked as a photographer and assistant and also did design and marketing under contract for a University.
It’s a big old casserole of accepting opportunities because they sounded interesting to me. Because of my willingness to hang my ass out there and learn on the fly, I have been asked to do all sorts of interesting things including script and assist in the direction of a destination promotional film. It was a two week gig with a crew of mostly Spanish speaking editors and long nights in Miami drinking Cuban coffee and surprising the guys when they were tired enough to lapse into Spanish and I could still follow their commentary on the film cuts. I must have been too tired as well to remember that I only have the most rudimentary knowledge of anything but English.
This year, just for the hell of it, get out a notepad and write down all the odd jobs that you could still do in a pinch and all the hobby skills you have acquired in your lifetime. You may be shocked at just how much stuff you actually know how to do. Don’t leave out weird stuff like knowing how to drive a motorcycle. I taught my kid sister how to drive one in a short afternoon. Still drive a stick shift or know how if you had too? Me too. I keep telling people who dismiss this skill that someday when all the computers crash they are going to be staring at the high-tech giant paper holder in their driveway and I will be driving my manual shift car over to rescue them. That’s a skill and one that someone may ask you to teach them so brush up.
I take a lot of photographs. That started with a brownie camera as a kid and graduated through several 35mm models, my favorite being my lightweight and trusty Olympus OM-1. That thing went everywhere with me. Like a cave person, I have yet to purchase myself a decent digital camera. That is on the horizon. For now I have set a challenge to take interesting photos using only my cellphone camera. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and it has a pretty decent little system.
Yesterday I found the website YouPic and decided to upload only my cellphone photo portfolio. At first I uploaded a handful of pictures and as the day progressed I continued to toss more out there as I retrieved them from my sd card. When I opened the site this morning to upload a few more photos I saw that I’d gotten 5,229 views. That was shocking. How the hell are that many people enchanted by my cat? Who knows?
The next thing I did was peruse the “fans” I had acquired while I was sleeping and I started to go through some of their uploads. Granted, some are professional photographers with some serious equipment though many are amateurs who managed to capture life on Earth in spectacular pictures. I am blown away by the talent out there. They have skills! I have skills! You have skills! Remember those?
Next time you are tempted to sit your ass on a sofa and stare blankly at a TV screen, take a minute and make that skill list I mentioned. Then get up, off your ass, and do one of those things for at least an hour. Remember some of the thousand things you one day thought that you might be and pick up that guitar, or that cooking pot or paint brush or Bic pen and MAKE SOMETHING. And if you need some inspiration, say hi to my cats at: https://youpic.com/photographer/mimidifrancesca/mimi.difrancesca-from-michigan-united-states
UPDATE: Four days after opening the YouPic site there are now 13,422 views and 252 Followers. Dang. That Lucca is one sexy cat.