Collection of C. Duayne Pearson's notebooks in black and white

The Notebooks

This morning was a little warmer than it‘s been the past few weeks; a nice cool fall morning with a light breeze and no rain. I checked the temperature as Eliana and I walked to the tram stop and it was 9 ℃.

After dropping her off at school, I went downtown to grab a coffee and stroll around as I do sometimes. Watching a city wake up in the morning always inspires me; activity, industry, LIFE in abundance. It‘s a great opportunity to sharpen my street photography skills, so even more reason to make it a habit of rising early every day. The solo walk is something I like to do in every city I live in or visit. Gymnopedie No. 1 popped into my mind, and was a solid match for the picturesque scenes all around. Today, seeing all of the people riding bikes, walking to work or school, ordering their own coffee and light breakfast on the go, renovating buildings, and playing their roles otherwise, reminded me yet again how much I love living in Mannheim. The soul of this city reminds me of being back home in the DMV, DC in particular.

I don‘t have many regrets–maybe even less as I get older and reflect–but one that will likely haunt me forever is that I didn‘t make more photos when I lived here the first time, nor did I answer the call to photograph when I was younger and still living in the US. I did write far more then, but I missed out on capturing a lot of history. I can only imagine what I could have captured prior to gentrification bulldozing through DC. I do have a few undeveloped rolls of film from Mannheim that I‘ll send to Mein Film Lab soon though.

I walked past the Wasserturm where the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) is being built currently. Although it looks nice so far, unfortunately we won‘t be attending this year due to the non-sensical and discriminatory 2G Covid rules that Baden-Württemberg is choosing to enact. I wish all the best for the business owners there as I’m sure some don’t agree with it, and I‘m sure we‘ll visit next year when everything is curiously over.

But I digress…

Speaking to the title of this blog post, the whole point of my walk this morning was appreciating how life unfolds right before your eyes. I began writing this post on my phone because it’s important to capture meaningful experiences as they happen whenever it’s feasible and tasteful. While reorganizing our storage space to make room for our new kitchen parts before the installation next week, Natalie found four of my notebooks from roughly 2015 to 2019 in a box we hadn’t unpacked yet. Reading through them blew my mind. Some of it I’d totally forgotten about. Some of it I will share on this site with the original dates. All of it I’m grateful to have recorded. I know there were days I didn’t feel like doing it, yet I did because I knew it was important in helping me process what I was going through. I think it’s a tragic thing to let deep thoughts simply pass as if they have no value.

I haven’t been public at all about my journey after quitting my job in 2016. Being a full-time entrepreneur is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life; harder than the military, marriage & raising kids even. The low points were LOW, but even then I always reminded myself that someone in the world had it worse than I did. I wished them the best and was grateful for everything I had. Thankfully, I had the mind to journal regularly during the struggle years. I remind Eliana often, especially during this time of Covid, to keep a journal of things that happen no matter how seemingly mundane. She’ll appreciate it years later when she looks back at those pages and realizes how much she’s progressed.

If I can leave you with anything from this post, it’s to write about everything; every desire, hardship, fear, celebration, or epiphany. If you think you can’t write, make a voice note or a video. Maybe I’m just nostalgic in that way, but I feel it’ll serve you well at some point in your life.

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C. Duayne Pearson monochrome mirror self-portrait with Canon AE-1 Program 35mm camera

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