I ran across this statement in Leo Babauta’s popular blog, zen habits. It made me pull up short. Wow! Isn’t trying to make progress without goals the same as trying to cook a meal without knowing what's on the menu? Yet, I suppose I do that sometimes. I know in my heart I spend way too much time planning and thinking about how to reach my goals. It gets to the point where I spend so much time planning that I have trouble finding time to do the actual work. And let’s face it - in spite of the best laid plans, goals often change as we learn and gain experience.
I recently discovered that the local junior college offers several college-level photography classes - some of them cover film and film processing. The idea of learning to shoot and develop my own film excites me. Most professional photographers my age started out using a 35mm film camera and have years of experience developing their own film. I bought this Canon AE1 35mm camera many years ago but never really learned how to use it. And I have absolutely no experience at developing film.
The hyperactive goal planner who lives in my brain assures me I should focus on classes that use a digital camera. "Learning to shoot and develop film isn't on your list of goals. Your time would be better spent elsewhere.” But Leo’s perspective makes me believe it would be okay to take courses that happen to interest me. This isn't some group project where we all need to be on the same page, this is my project. I need to stop fretting over what will move me closer to a particular goal and have some faith that when it comes to art and photography any course will move me forward. Plus I get to focus on the learning journey, which is what I love.