Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Be Our Guest - Barb Brookbank

by Dotti

Our Guest Blogger for October is Barb Brookbank who is part of our family here at FOL. She has her own wonderful blog, Keeping With The Times and you can follow her on Instagram @keepingupblog. Since she has told us a bit about herself in today's post, I'll just turn this page over to her so you can read her story and see her wonderful photos.


Hello there! I’m Barb, a Canadian woman of a certain age, who is simply trying to navigate gracefully through this maze we call life!  Today I thought I would share a personal story about how I’m coping with getting older. But first I’d like to say a huge thank you to the amazing women at Focusing on Life. I’m extremely honoured to be chosen as one of their guest bloggers.


So here’s my little story.

Eight years ago, I reached a rather large milestone in the birthday department. I wasn’t thrilled about growing older, but neither was I agonizing over it. However, as quite often happens in my life, all it took was one small incident to send me into a tailspin.

I was going to visit my older sister and I was very excited since we hadn’t seen each other for several months. My first impression when I saw her was “wow” she looks fabulous! Her face was smooth and her skin looked beautiful. She seemed thinner, and she had the perkiest short haircut ever! When I told her how great she looked, she freely admitted that she had “had some work done”.

Oh, my. I did not expect that. I was caught totally unawares.

I have to say I did a fantastic job of hiding my shock, which quickly turned to dismay when I later went to the bathroom and took a good look at my own face. Really? Is this what we have to do now? Before I go any further, please don’t get me wrong here. If I had the money, and the courage, I just might consider a nip and a tuck here or there. We can dream about the dewy freshness of youth, can we not?



I did not sleep a wink that night. As I tossed and turned, I agonized over the fact that I was aging and there wasn’t a darn thing I could do about it. I knew I wouldn’t be “having any work done” and it became painfully obvious to me that I was in for some turmoil, and that I would not be able to reconcile all my emotions any time soon.

But life continued on, as it has a tendency to do, and among other things, I read up on the process of aging. One of the best resources I found was “Healthy Aging” by Andrew Weil, MD. It struck a chord with me; it was down-to-earth, practical advice. I also read and reread “Younger by the Day” by Victoria Moran. This entertaining book is all about looking after oneself, and keeping a positive mental attitude. I totally love it.

Then, other things started to happen. Fate (in the form of my daughters and husband) introduced me to digital photography. I started with a small point and shoot, but it wasn’t long until I invested in my first DSLR. Not surprisingly, as it turned out, it wasn’t the camera I had invested in; it was me. From there on, endless opportunities seemed to stretch out to the horizon.


Never did I envision the amazing things that would happen after that. I was determined to learn how to use the camera in manual mode, so I took classes at our local college, read photography books, and got out there and practiced. I chuckle when I think back at how clueless I was in the beginning; I didn’t even know how to turn the camera on! Gradually, things started to click, and I felt like I was on fire. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning. There were so many things I wanted to capture; feathery snowflakes, pristine spring flowers, breathtaking summer sunsets, and brilliant autumn leaves.


When I started my blog “Keeping With The Times”, it served to fan the flames of my photography obsession. I found myself on a continuous learning curve; photography, Photoshop, and blogging. It now consumes my days, and my thoughts. Most mornings I can hardly wait to get out of bed; ideas that were percolating all night wake me up at 5:00 a.m. and won’t let me sleep. I work on projects from morning ‘til night, and I love every single minute of it. There is so much more I want to see, and try, and learn. It seems there is never enough time in the day to do it all, and who knows what other exciting things lay ahead?


As I look back over the past eight years, I’d have to say that I have never felt more creatively inspired in my whole life, and I am so incredibly thankful. In the words of author Gail Sheehy, I would refer to my last decade as “the flaming fifties”, and it’s not over yet. I plan to soar into my sixties.

I’ve made peace with the mirror, and I feel blessed.



Thank you, Barb, for being our guest today and for sharing such an inspirational story and your beautiful photographs! It's a joy to have you as part of our community.


18 comments:

kelly said...

i love your photos barb, but i guess what i really love is the story they tell. how wonderful it is to have this hobby/obsession to keep us inspired. it's a wonderful way to see our life. thank you so much for sharing your story.

Deanna said...

What a beautiful story, so well told and inspiring. I think we all have our stories about how we began our photography journey, each one different, but your journey was a joy to read as well as your always, absolutely gorgeous photography. Thank you for joining us today it's always a pleasure being in your company....said a blazing 70 year old (with no work done). Photography keeps us young and involved.

heyjudephotography said...

A story I can relate to very well having turned 50 last year. Your gorgeous photos tell your story so well, and It is obvious that you work very hard at your passion. Bravo to you for finding "the thing" you needed at just the right time! Thanks for joining us today!

Dotti said...

I love everything about this post: the story, the beauty, the honesty, the inspiration. It is such a wonderful reminder that age needn't hold us back from living life fully and that having a passion ... be it photography or something else ... is vital if we are to live a life filled with vitality. Thank you so much for being our guest today, Barb! We so enjoyed having you.

Kim Stevens said...

As a 50 something myself I too relate. I have been a stay at home mom for the last 18 years and have always put my kids and husband before myself. It wasn't until they started getting older and less physically demanding that I started to explore the creative side that has always been there first with jewelry, trying my hand at painting, and now the addition of photography. But I would always, always choose to be able to express myself creatively over any "work" any day. Because I believe it's what is in our hearts that keeps us young!

Your photography is just beautiful, and soulful...thank you so much for sharing your story! xo

Viv@within the Frame said...

Great post Barb, the FOL community is full of talented and kind people. I love your blog and love your attitude to life, as someone who isn't far off the big 60 I am determined to enter that decade with grace.

CarolHart said...

Great story and images Barb! Your attitude is an inspiration for us all.

Seraphina´s Phantasie said...

These are marvelous photos, Barb. I love them all.
Best regards, Synnöve

terriporter said...

I can't tell you how much your beautiful post spoke to me, Barb! I've read through it three times and savored each photo. Finding something to be passionate about once our kids are grown is something we all need and for a lot of us, photography has filled the bill. Yes, it would be wonderful to have the face (not to mention the body!) of a 30-year-old again but I wouldn't trade the time I have now to really explore who I am and what I want to do for the next part of my life. So glad you joined us today! And your photos are just amazing. The bokeh in the grass just breathtaking!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Lovely to hear you story Barb, very encouraging. Next month I'll hit that milestone - (and my younger sister looks much younger than me). Love seeing your photos, always!

sherrygaley said...

I am so grateful to have left behind a demanding career tethered to my blackberry and now be able to explore the world and follow my bliss in this decade of my life. I used to write for a living so now I prefer to focus on the visual, although one can't communicate too well without writing! Your guest post certainly struck a chord with me. I did a lot of the same things as you to learn photography. I am not as disciplined as you about blogging but I have sure met some wonderful folks that way.

gina said...

Beautiful post and such gorgeous images that you've shared! I love the colors and lines in that beautiful field! Yes, it can be a challenge to come to terms with aging and accept the changes that come with the process. I think you found the secrets: pursue a passion and be grateful for everything we have.

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

Whoa girl! You rocked it on all accounts! (I think we're the same age.) Every photo goes with each part of your story. You are an accomplished photographer and I'm glad Miss Creativity found her way.

amy of four corners design said...

perfect combination of inspiring story and breathtaking photos...so glad I jumped over here from your blog Barb! wonderful post...

Barb Brookbank said...

Thank you all for your kind words - I'm blessed to be a part of this community!

Carol said...

Hi Barb,

I wasn't here for your post - so I sent you a note this morning. Hope you see it

Cathy H. said...

Gorgeous images, and such an inspiring story! I'm so glad I found the passion for photography in my late 50's. It has brought so much joy to my life.

Margie said...

Gorgeous photos and a beautiful story. The best is yet to come.

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

 
© Focusing On Life