04.23.2011 Comfortable in my own skin

Last week I found out that I had almost died two weeks prior.  I had no idea.  At that time I visited my doctor with a pain in my left side towards my back and we both agreed I had hurt it while moving firewood.  But last week I had a swollen lower right leg and he suspected a clot.  After an ultrasound and a CAT scan, it turned out that the earlier episode had been a pulmonary embolism and was most likely the result of a deep vein thrombosis in my leg.  This was all too surreal and came as quite a surprise…I felt fine.  But that’s really not what this is about.

I can’t remember where I read the title phrase( a quick Google search reveals a lot of folks using it now) but it is appropriate to my evolving outlook these days.  My first reaction as I lay there was about wanting to be home with Mary Beth and our dog, Murphy, and how much I loved sharing life with them.  That was followed by the self-critique that I had wasted my life, I’ve done nothing of note and I have pretty much coasted, doing what was expected of me and dabbling in various interests and enjoying them but without ever really settling on something and sinking all my energy into that pursuit.  I do have a passion for nature and photographing what I find but, as with most things in my life, it has never been all-consuming.  Like most folks in my situation, an appreciation of life overwhelmed me and,  although mine did not pass before my eyes, I definitely gave it some serious thought.

Some people these days have their “bucket lists” of all that they want to do before they pass on.  It’s a pretty neat idea and certainly worth putting some time and energy into.  But I don’t think that’s for me.  Sure, I’d like to see the world’s wonders, travel across the United States and experience all that life has to offer.  More realistically though, I’m pretty happy getting to know my own little part of the Earth, enjoying the people in my life whom I’m privileged to call friends and seeing what each day has to offer.  It also occurred to me that I judge myself too harshly.  Whatever I accomplish is uniquely my own, not to be measured against the accomplishments of others, and definitely to be savored.  That’s not to say one should not be driven to improve and excel, but we need a bit of self-satisfaction to propel us along.  Appreciate your failures for what they teach and grow each day a little bit.

So I’ll be a better husband, a better person, a better photographer, and I’ll also accept myself for who I am.  And we should all try to be “Comfortable in my own skin”.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
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15 Responses to 04.23.2011 Comfortable in my own skin

  1. Anita Mueller says:

    Very nice! Have a Happy Easter, Anita


  2. Alister Benn says:

    Firstly, glad you’re ok.. Having a chance to reflect and make minor adjustments is a blessing. Welcome to the Carpe diem Club 🙂 very well written, looking forward to more…


  3. Greg Russell says:

    Very glad to hear you’re okay, Steve, and that you’ve had time to reflect. While I’ve never been in as extreme a situation as you, I’ve found the opportunities life has handed me to reflect as very valuable.

    Lovely image too. I’m beginning to find that macro photographers have a whole different set of challenges than us landscape photographers!



    • sggphoto says:

      Thanks Greg.
      Yes, nothing like a little bit of reflection to make things real. Sometimes they get too real though. 🙂
      As I’ve spent more time pursuing landscapes, the challenges are very different, but there are loads of similar disciplines too. Obviously good composition and managing exposure is a concern in both. But managing the elements within the frame is quite different as well as the distribution of light. Coming from more of a macro background, where one can take over the light source so to speak, the landscapes truly test me.
      Cheers, too.


  4. Jim Borden says:


    I am glad that you survived the ordeal. I like your outlook–hoping we can get together again in Maine.



    • sggphoto says:

      Hi Jim
      Thanks. I hope so also…right now with the medical expenses I’m in a holding pattern. But I’m going to try to get up there in either early July or October.


  5. Andrew Hardacre says:

    Steve, I have had DVT twice, a colleague 3x and one who has to self-inject with warfarin before he flies. It’s an occupational hazard. Why do I say this? Because I too went through the “must do more with life” reflection but then lapsed back into my bad old days. I flew nearly 250,000 miles in 2009-10. Do not make the same mistake. Take nothing for granted and enjoy life.


    • sggphoto says:

      Thanks Andrew. I plan on always being vigilant…but don’t we all. I don’t fly, so I won’t make that mistake, but there are other habits I need to break. I hope that twice is all for you.


  6. jameshuntphotography says:

    Hi Stephen
    Just getting caught up on my favorite blogs and I was absolutely stunned with your story. Thank goodness things have worked out for you and your family. Your point is extremely well taken. Keep shooting!


    • sggphoto says:

      Thanks James. I was stunned too. 🙂 I appreciate your thoughts and have tried to take a new outlook with me every day. But it’s hard breaking from a lifetime of curmudgeonery. 🙂


  7. Office Diva says:

    Sometimes people forget to be grateful for their health challenges, but it is usually only when we face a crisis that we truly wake up to the world around us and find meaning in it, within ourselves, and come to a certain peace about it. I am happy to hear that you made it through this and came out the other side stronger and with more purpose, and acceptance. Some people never experience that until it’s too late and they don’t have any time left. Good for you, and blessings to your continued good health!

    Keep on’ shootin, as James says……….


    • Even after an experience like that, the reality fades a bit and we fall into our old habits. But I do stop to smell the trilliums more often. Thanks Diva. An old story but I am glad to have it refreshed in my mind. 🙂


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