A life well-lived

Written by Alpenglow Images on March 18th, 2013

In my last post, I reflected a little bit about the landscapes and experiences that make us who we are; I know that much of who I am is tied to the landscapes of the Southwest.  Since then, through a series of separate but related conversations with friends, I’ve been thinking more about a life lived to its fullest.

The path I followed in life was probably not unlike that of many others.  I went to college, got a job, started a family, and now, here I am.  There was a crossroads in my past where I could have gone another direction, working seasonal jobs in order to make ends meet between adventures.  More than once, I almost went down that road, but today I fit my adventures in around other obligations.  I accepted the trade-off: stability for freedom, as it were.  Similarly, I would have been sacrificing stability, family, and possibly relationships if I had gone down the other road.

Trade-offs.  Life is full of them.  In most cases, they’re unavoidable, however what’s important (and this is where my conversations from this week come in), is to live a life with no regrets.

This week I also came across this video that’s been circulating online.   Renan Ozturk is an accomplished climber, artist, and photographer, and was a 2012 nominee for the National Geographic Society’s Adventurer of the Year.  The video below is his 2013 Director’s Reel, produced with the Camp 4 Collective.  Quite frankly, on the surface, it’s badass.  But, looking deeply, it’s a good reminder to live life to the fullest.


How does this relate to photography?  In photography, as in life, it’s all about the personal journey.  Treating every image as if it counts, because it does.  Putting only your best work forward.  Thinking very hard before saying “no,” when an unforgettable opportunity comes up.  Creating personal, meaningful images.

As I watch the video above, I wistfully wonder about what I would have found had I taken another path in life, and I know that other crossroads lay before me yet.  In life, in photography, I want to always say that I have had a life well-lived.

Pacific Ocean, early morning


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Greg, I think we all struggle with this dilemma and the what-if conundrum. There is a different balance to be found by each of us and what seems to be right today may not look right with hindsight. If it is any consolation I am still struggling to find the best route through life and time is running out!

  2. Some inspiring words Greg. Every now and then we need a good source of inspiration to keep the fire burning and remind us to live life to the fullest. That video certainly does just that…. breathtaking cinematography and full of energy!

  3. pj says:

    Important thoughts for all of us Greg. Even as I age I find myself facing these trade offs — I don’t think you ever reach a point where they end, except when you finally die.

    I guess you always wonder what things would have been like had you taken a different path. I took a different one from yours — I settled down and married and did the family bit relatively late in life. It didn’t stick, except for remaining close to my daughter and step-son. I don’t regret any of my choices, though there are certainly many things I could have done better. But I think we can all say that. Good post.

  4. I am in the same boat as you all too often, Greg. Always wondering about the what ifs. I always come to the conclusion, though, that I made the right choices. There are moments of doubt about where I am and where I am going. But in the big picture it is all pretty good for most of us. While we may envy, for instance, the freedom of others, quite often they envy the stability in life that you mention. I believe that as long as you are moving forward and staying open to growth then you are living a full life.
    As always, a fine post full of thought provoking writing and a dynamite image at the end.

  5. I’ve experienced the divide from both sides, and it’s worth keeping in mind that the lifestyle of freedom isn’t always as romantic as it sounds. For instance, having a dental emergency, a dying car and a goose egg in the bank account doesn’t really feel like most folks’ idea of freedom. And having a more stable and financially secure lifestyle has definitely allowed me to go some places I couldn’t see back when I was a full-time guide. For example, I never got to enjoy monsoon season in the southwest or high alpine country in summer, because I was always on the rivers. And a nomadic lifestyle lets you see a lot of places, but it makes it hard to develop a deep relationship with them, especially ones you don’t work in. There are definitely times when I miss guiding and being at loose end in the shoulder seasons, but at other times I’m pretty glad to be more settled. Always tradeoffs….

  6. A point well-taken about living each moment to the fullest, Greg. You put it well. That is a breathtaking video. When I was just 10 years younger, perhaps around Renan’s age, or your age, I took every possible adventure I could. I have had a pretty wild and abundantly unusual life. Today, living life to the fullest has changed flavor completely. As I was watching that video, I was thinking how great the internet is in that I can sit back here in my favorite comfortable chair and travel around the world with a leading climber and cinematographer and at the same time stay nice and warm here in my cozy home. Now, that is living life to the fullest and having the best of both worlds. Not that I still don’t have adventure, but to me, now, I agree with Jackson, a life more settled is a life well-lived.

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