Monthly Archives: September 2016

NO MORE EXCUSES — I’M TAKING A PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS!

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As a 50+ year old woman, I find increasingly that my life becomes more and more rich and interesting. Why? I think it’s because I’m not enmeshed in building a career, or proving myself to others that as an African American or as a woman that I can do the job, handle a challenge or am worthy of any accolades or position I hold. I am  not saddled with the fear of not being married nor am I no longer obsessed with hoping everyone likes and approves of me.

As a result, I’m free to enjoy aspects of life at a level not yet experienced to date and to try new things.  I’m clear that as I approach the third act of my life that doing things that have been on the back burner, exciting times, opportunities and new experiences are forever unfolding!

An example of something that I’ve had on the back burner for years is my desire to take a photography class. I have been saying I’m going to do this for what seems like forever. Well, I’m waiting no longer —  I have finally registered to take a class at Blue 1647.

Located in the Pilsen community in Chicago, Blue 1647 is an entrepreneurial and tech organization that provides a space for racially and ethnically diverse groups of children, teens and women to develop their technical skills. They even offer workshops for fledgling inventors.  They host a number of hack-a-thons and coding classes, and with all this innovation, Blue 1647  even offers a a 1919 program for women to develop expertise in graphic design, photography, public speaking, entrepreneurship and Word Press.

This is Blue 1647’s unique  approach to community development, involvement, building and closing technological gaps among people of color.  And it’s a really good one, I might add.

I love interesting photos, and I’ve often wondered what actually goes into creating a picture like Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Moneta Sleet’s iconic photo of Coretta Scott King and daughter Bernice (Bunny) at Dr. King’s funeral. Or how about a photo of a delectable plate of food (photo below taken by me) that makes you want to reach out to take a bite of it? “How did that photographer get that shot just right,” or “How did she/he capture the emotion I’m feeling?”  These are questions I’ve often asked myself when I have come across an impactful photo.

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In our first class, co-led by Amber Marie Green and Rashad Sallee, we were introduced to Shutter Speed, Iso and Aperture; we were also even given a chance to shoot photos of activities going on at Blue 1647! Not bad for my first time handling a DSLR camera!

I’m excited about doing something completely out of my comfort zone.  Women, who are age 50+, LIFE IS JUST BEGINNING! Embrace it with everything you have!

 

 

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DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Musings on a Helicopter Tour and Being Daring at 50+ Years Old!

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Recently, at a conference I attended in California, I met Katie Wilks, a representative from the travel and ticketing resource company Mighty Mongoose. This company has developed a reputation for offering exciting and fun ways to explore major cities across America through a wide range of attractions, tours and events.

After being given the opportunity as a blogger to experience one of their tours, I set out to select something different  — something that I wouldn’t ordinarily position myself to do.  I could have picked any one of their great offerings — a Walking Italian Food Tour, The Botanic Gardens (I’ve never visited there) and several trolley and bus tours. Although these were all packaged nicely, the one that stood out was The Helicopter Tour of Downtown Chicago. It was as if neon lights encircled it.

I have wanted to do something daring for quite some time!  When I was a child, I vowed that I would be a skydiver when I grew up.  I was that kid who was always enamored with people who were mountain climbers or something that had an element of risk.

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Photo: We (that’s me on the left) are in the cabin of the “copter”

Now, I must admit — I had to give taking advantage of this helicopter excursion a second thought.  After all, when I first dreamed of skydiving, I was a kid.  Now I’m a 50+ woman, who likes daring, but with caution. After I did due diligence, but more importantly after I thought about how I would feel if I didn’t go on the ride, I said yes!!!  I’m at that stage in life where I don’t want to let fear hold me back — it’s now or never!

Mighty Mongoose was gracious enough to allow me to bring a guest along for this exciting opportunity, so I ran a “Can You Guess My Favorite American City Contest” on my  This…I…Do…For…Me (TIDFM) Facebook Page!

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Twanda Gates of Milwaukee, Wisconsin guessed correctly — San Francisco!  Love that city!  Twanda, like me, loves to travel, and even more ironic, she has a bucket list of things to experience and a helicopter ride was on it!

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I just love when a plan comes together, especially when it involves playing a role in helping to bring someone’s dream to fruition.

Upon arrival at Chicago’s premier helicopter tour company Rotorzen, located at 1339 S. Wood Street,  we were given an orientation by its professional staff.  We were given an overview of the helicopter that we would ride in and the iconic Chicago sites we would see.  We then met the man of the hour — our experienced pilot, Travis, who would guide us on this excursion! By the way, Rotorzen operates out of the largest heliport in North America.

As we took off on Saturday, September 10, 2016, at 2:30 p.m., I and Twanda took a deep breath, then relaxed long enough to enjoy a new experience.

It’s one thing to see The Willis Tower, Millennium Park, The Hancock Building, Museum Campus, Soilder Field, Navy Pier, Trump Tower and even Lincoln Park Zoo all on ground level, but to see these well known sites well above 1,000 feet, is awe-inspiring.  All I could keep thinking was “I AM ACTUALLY DOING THIS!”

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TIDFM contest winner Twanda Gates put it this way, “The helicopter ride was such an exhilarating experience.  The pilot was personable and professional, and he was an excellent tour guide. Thanks to TIDFM and the excursion sponsor Mighty Mongoose for my first helicopter tour.”

As I reflect on this wonderful day, I can’t help but to feel encouraged by the fact that just because you’re 50+ years old, your dreams (both postponed or denied) can still manifest.

Too many times we look at situations and opportunities from the view point that we are way too old to try something new and daring.  We feel it’s too late, so we over enmesh ourselves  in other things and other people to compensate for our fear.  This is not healthy.  We want a balance between doing our thing and assisting others to do theirs.

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Too many times we say we are going to do something after we lose some weight, or after the kids are off to college or some other moment in time.  The time is now! Stop putting things off and LIVE!

Make a list of those things you want to do, do them, and add new items to the list on a regular basis. You will be amazed at yourself.

Thank you Mighty Mongoose and Rotorzen Tours for playing a role in me living my dreams.

 

All Photos Were Taken by Robin Tillotson and Twanda Gates