42: How could I become more steadfast—something simultaneously solid and moving?

I spent the end of 41 working on “Making Space for Yourself,” a project that synthesized a lot of my learning and life lessons. My priority in making it was to allow it, rather than force it. I released it on my birthday, and began developing plans for how to expand it. The time I had spent learning to trust myself began to pay off. I realized that I generally had everything I needed, even if I didn’t always have everything I wanted. This was largely a result of privilege and good fortune; but, at the same time, I knew that these were habits I had worked hard to cultivate.

Photos by Dawn Frary, 2019.

Photos by Dawn Frary, 2019.

I make fewer excuses for myself than ever before. I no longer feel entitled to anything: I focus on the joy of making things happen, rather than on any result in a future. I treasure my time far more than ever. I became conscious of how I spent my time—the activities and the thoughts that compromised my life—and began to emphasize the collaborations and conversations that brought me joy, that made me think, that inspired confidence within me.

 Halfway through the year, I realized that it had become more difficult to identify with the “Dan” that I had been for the first 42 years of my life and began referring to myself as “Daniel” in personal situations, not just professional ones. Having spent a year investing in myself as a human, I felt that it was time to build on that foundation and begin investing in my ideas toward the future. In this way, perhaps, I will participate in calling a joyful community into existence. 

 I know that I have much to learn, and I am grateful to those who have helped to teach me along the way—sitting in conversation, recommending a book, offering an invitation. I do not know what 43 will bring by the time that it ends, nor that I will have the privilege to live for so long. My hope is that the next set of photographs depicts the compassion, the wisdom, and the joy that I continue to cultivate and embrace as the core values that direct me throughout my day.