Available Light

This is a post from a friend on Google Plus. I was impressed at how David turned his life around. His story is inspirational, and worth sharing and definitely worth a read.

If you have done something like this, or know someone who wants to share their story, let us know!

I want to look at life — In the available light

I was forty years old at the time. Sitting in the doctors office waiting for my regular check-up. They happen every 90 days when you are diabetic. Not a big deal really. You go in, give some blood, get griped at for being over weight or your diet and then you move along. This had been the drill for years. In fact ten at the time. I found out I was insulin resistant when I was 30. They treat it the same way as being diabetic, but the truth is… I make plenty of insulin. My body just doesn’t use it…. (figures doesn’t it)

The Doc walks in, looks at the chart and gives me that disgusting sigh of frustration that everyone loves to hear. The count down to lecture starts in my mind

5…. 4 ….3 ….2

“David” he says, “What do you do for a living?”

Ok this caught me off guard…..

I thought I was about to get a first class gripe session about my diet or weight or something. But now he wants to know about my job. So, I tell him. At the time I was at Amazon. I ran the development for half of global payments. The doctor nodded his head as I explained my position and what I did then asked if this was a stressful job?

I explained that we have to maintain our systems at 99.99 to 99.999% uptime, and mine were responsible for securing all 500,000,000 credit cards in the database, and paying all of the merchants that use the Amazon platform to conduct business (roughly about 8 billion) as well as currency conversion and some other nifty things…. so

“Yeah, its stressful” I said.

The doctor then went on to explain to me that my blood pressure was so high that I should be dead, my diet sucked, I was over weight and basically I was going to end up having a massive heart attack or die suffering from complete endocrine system failure.

Gee… and to think I thought I was going to get griped at for just my diet or something. Who know I was the epitome of the walking dead (literally). The doctor then asked me what I did as a hobby…

you know to relax…

“Code,” I said.
“Humm… doesnt sound relaxing, describe it to me” the doctor said.

“Well, its where I get an idea, I sketch it on paper, get some requirements and then start writing the code for the idea. It eventually becomes a product or an application” I explained.

“Is there more to it than that… sounds kinds simple” he said.

Irritated with the notion of what developers do as being simple, I then explained that this process involved me staying up until two or three in the morning for months on end, a fair bit of cussing when things didn’t work, MASSIVE ingestion of caffeine and a fair bit of snacking as well as a strong dose of metal music at high volume (you know, to keep me moving). After all if you are going to code you MUST eat and have loud music. (they teach you that in school… no, really. Coders Diet 101 and Metal Appreciation 101).

Needless to say, the doctor wasn’t impressed. The lecture began again. It was like listening to a parent in a Charlie Brown cartoon.

Waa Waaa Wa Waaa Waaa Wa Waaa !!

I didnt care. I had been coding since I was 14. I sure as hell wasn’t going to stop now.

Then, he cut me deep. (yes… like Shrek… im on a cartoon kick tonight what can i tell ya)

“David, how old are your kids?” followed by a dramatic pause

In that moment I knew where he was going. He didn’t need to explain. My sone was almost eleven and my daughter was six. If I continued the way I was going I would never see them grow up.

The thought really made me start to well up.

The conversation took a rapid change. We began discussing what I liked, what I liked to do and what made me happy. I really didn’t do anything at the time. My marriage was all but destroyed, my life was a walking stress ball, I hated my job, I had no friends and all I did was stay up late and look at these damn machines… coding. We discussed how I used to draw, and paint and take pictures. How I LOVED driving my hot rod and blowing out my stereo when it hit him.

“You need to get in your car, drive and take pictures. Its beautiful here. Go hike, see the mountains, the streams get outside” he said. Then he went on about me working out in the rainy season (GEEZE its Seattle, you mean move into the gym… its always raining there). But I got the message. LOUD and clear. I love to work out, I loved my car, I loved taking pictures, but there is nothing more important to me than my kids. The decision was simple and I followed it 100% as prescribed.

This is how and why I got back into photography, after a 15 year break

It gave me a new focus and a new creative outlet. It got me off my butt (unlike now… while writing) and had me out exercising my body, my mind and my soul all at the same time. When the rain came, I turned to the gym. It was natural, I worked out, took my supplements and dropped pounds, bulked up and was all but cured from my problem.

Play of light
A photograph
The way I used to be
Some half-forgotten stranger
Doesn’t mean that much to me

Now, I shoot mostly for fun and hobby. I have been published several times and have been in a couple of galleries. I still stay up late, but its different. The stress is gone (well most of the time) and I focus on art and my pictures. I worked out REAL hard until 15 months ago when I injured both of my rotator cuffs. One is finally better, the other one is still bothering me. I need to get back to the gym… I need that release. I am hoping to this summer.

Until then, more shooting, more time with my kids and more focusing on the things I enjoy as opposed to work. I am trying to change even to this very day. Its amazing how unhappy you can feel or be and never know it. Its even more amazing how a few simple changes can make a world of difference.

Trick of light
Moving picture
Moments caught in flight
Make the shadows darker
Or the colors shine too bright

I only have a few things left to resolve. I’m trying real hard to wind down and find a new grove. I said earlier this year, that it was a year of change for me. Those changes have been happening methodically for awhile now and I am trying to remain optimistic that when I reach the end of the tunnel its not a painting on a brick wall that Wile E. Coyote used to run into all the time. The weight is gone, I’m back in real good shape and despite my shoulders am feeling pretty good

For the first time in a long time….

I want to look at life — In the available light

David Bowden

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