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Fluidity

I am a photographer. An adventurer. A Product Owner. A wife.

Labels construct my identity. It’s temping to think their sum equals a human being.

Every label is heavy with expectations. Am I photographer if I don’t get paid? Am I daring enough to be called an adventurer?

For years I called myself a runner. I folded it into my identity, a piece of who I represent to the world.

A set of injuries and illnesses sidelined me. For a year I mourned the loss. I punished myself for not being a runner. I felt less than, even as my passion for running waned.

Yet, was I ever running? Was running ever me?

Labels succinctly package me to the world. The world benefits, but I do not. I attempt to fit the mold of what these labels represent. I expend energy comparing myself to other photographers, other wives, other adventurers.

I’m actively working to define myself in words which can endure change.

I share my experiences and beliefs through photography. I live in the mountains of Idaho. I value adventure and prioritize it in my life.

Being defined in fluid terms cultivates resilience.

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Perspective

As 2015 drew to a close I was enveloped in woodstove coziness with friends. After hugs to usher in a new year I ran through the below-zero night to my car. Curled over like a turtle I glanced upwards.

My breath caught. An infinity of crystal clear stars pierced the frigid air.

Stars produce a radical shift of scale. “You are there,” they say. “And there is so much more.”

Worries drop away under a blanket of stars. My place in the universe is tiny while simultaneously being everything I have.

A 90 year life drawn in dots looks like this. Time, a slippery concept, becomes concrete in the face of those dots. Years, months, weeks and days become finite.

If I’m so lucky to live 90 years over a third of my dots are already crossed off.

In those crossed off dots I’ve lost a parent. I’ve loved many times. I’ve chased after beauty and tried to capture it in a photograph. I’ve spent time with an inflated idea of my importance and spent time underestimating myself. I’ve squandered time and relished time. I’ve spent hundreds of nights sleeping under the stars.

56 dots. That’s what remains.

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Realities

Daughter universes, a theory of quantum mechanics, states that all possible outcomes of a situation play out in other universes. I woke up early today. From now on my life is influenced by that decision. A daughter universe was created where I slept in late, and my life is slightly different. Multiplying that by every decision I’ve made, conscious or not, gives me a canon of daughter universes.

Daughter universes suggest that the reality we live in is one of a near infinite number of realities in which we exist. Mind bending.

Perhaps in another universe I’m on a sailboat. Maybe I am buying flowers in Ljubljana Central Market. Perhaps I’m a dancer, a concert pianist or a politician. Maybe I’m homeless. Perhaps I have diabetes or maybe I am an Ironman.

My daughter universes, like yours, are unknowable. What I have is the reality of the choices I’ve made, and the life that has been built from them.

I live in the mountains. I have moved cross country multiple times. I talk too fast. I have been photographing for over a decade, but never as a profession. I savor the title page of a new book. I fell in love with my college sweetheart. I seek out experiences and adventures. I’m afraid of uncertainty. I have two old dogs. I love beautiful things. I believe I’m capable of making an impact on this world.

Perhaps a choice I made led me into your path. Perhaps a choice you made led you into mine.

The power of daughter universes is the realization that each moment holds infinite possibilities. Each moment is an opportunity to alter the course of a life.

Redfish Lake, Idaho (c) Sara Sheehy

The Beginning

Well behaved blogs follow the rules. Single topic. Short posts. Digestible tutorials. I’ve been there before.

This blog is a bit different.

Nothing here is worthy of a glossy magazine spread. Nor will you find the raw and messy stories of everyday life.

In-between the extremes are pieces of my reality, thoughtfully scrutinized and put into words.

You’ll find stories of adventure and the desire to lead an unconventional life. Stories of happiness, passion, disappointment, beauty and heartbreak.

Years of choices, chance and luck led me here. There are more paths ahead. Join me on the journey.