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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

| written by Shariq Toor

It’s the same, old routine each day: wake up, make coffee, get ready for the day, rush out the door with breakfast in hand to make it to work on time, get stuck in traffic on the way to work, yell obscenities in the car because you’ll be 5 minutes late, and the list goes on. A quintessential day living a busy life trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle, which brings up the question, are we happy with being so busy?

I for one like to be busy; if I don’t have anything to do, I always find myself thinking of things to do; I just can’t sit still. From always being involved with sports and clubs at a young age, I just can’t imagine my life being anything but busy. Which is why in college I pushed myself further each semester, taking on more classes than necessary and pursuing new hobbies; one of those hobbies being photography.

When I started my photography class we began by reviewing the history of photography and then delving into the different parts of the camera so we knew how it functioned. While all this information is essential, I just wanted to get down to business taking pictures.

The first assignment we did was not a pleasant experience—it focused on using shutter speed appropriately with the f-stop. As I used my notes from class to adjust them properly, I grew frustrated from not being able to get my pictures to come out right. I could have redone all the pictures but I was so frustrated with how long the assignment took I decided to leave them as they were. Luckily, my professor purposefully wanted that to happen with that first assignment.

With every passing day and getting more practice, my photography began to get better and I started to understand the technical parts of photography as well (my frustration with the f-stop and shutter speed started to dissipate). The one day I decided to go to a state park and take pictures for an assignment I had. It was the beginning of March, a whopping 25°, and there was about a foot of snow on the ground. As I was making my way through the snow, I stopped where I was, looked through the camera lens and looked around. The park was so peaceful and as I kept looking around in silence, it dawned on me how much beauty there is. Not just beauty within that area of the park, but how much beauty we are surrounded by every day.

I found myself realizing in that moment how much beauty I was missing out on from being so busy, from getting frustrated because I didn’t want to take my time; living in a busy world I wanted things to get done quickly. This realization made me face the harsh reality that as much as I wanted to be involved to not miss anything, I was in fact missing out on even more. I wasn’t appreciating what was surrounding me; I wasn’t finding joy in the moment. I thought going further with academics would bring me joy from gaining more knowledge and (hopefully) a prosperous life; as much as that may be true in a way, that won’t bring whole-hearted happiness.

The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is definitely one that applies to this situation. I never realized how much beauty there was, until I realized it. From gaining this new perspective I not only enjoyed photography even more because I was able to expose the beauty I found, but I started to take things easier, not rush as much, so I could enjoy the moment I was in. Every day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present, eh?

The pictures I took from the state park that day I hold near and dear to my heart. They helped to open up a whole world to me that I didn’t realize existed. They flash on the screen of my digital picture frame in my bedroom, and one would think seeing the same pictures would get tiresome but to me they aren’t just pictures. They were an awakening, one I experienced looking through a camera lens.

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Shariq Toor is a Content Strategist and Outreach Expert working closely with Nixplay, creator of the Nixplay Seed. He loves discovering the latest trends in technology, social media, and health. In his off time he practices landscape photography and keeps up with his favorite sports. Follow him on Twitter @Shariqtoor.

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