Weddings and funerals

People tend to be at their best-worst behaviour at weddings and funerals. These two major life events bring out the best in us.

People tend to be at their best-worst behaviour at weddings and funerals. These two major life events bring out the best in us. We dress up nicely, and feel more or less obligated to attend the event, even for any far removed half-relatives. Under those nice layers of designer fabrics we come armed with self-centered expectations. Expectations of how it should be in case of weddings, and usually how it should have been in case of funerals. “It” being the life of the deceased, or newly-wed couple. What a way to celebrate the start, or end, of (married) life.

As a professional photographer, I do attend the occasional wedding or two. Most wedding invites I get come with a little handwritten “PS” – “you’ll bring your camera, right?”. Sure. Sometimes I even get paid, which is nice since getting paid for my work funds a large portion of my commercial activities. Gear doesn’t come cheap, and while “exposure” is nice, it doesn’t pay my bills. Regardless, my unsolicited advice to any couple that wants to get married: (1) it’s your special day, so make it special for you – your family and friends are provided free food and (usually – I hate cash bars!) drinks so they shouldn’t be too demanding in regards to the agenda for the big day. And (almost forgot 2) don’t cheap out on your photographer. You don’t hire one for just any ordinary day so make sure to hire the one that’s right for you. If that turns out to be me, even better. Or, I’d love to help you find one.

The same applies to funerals, in a way. Do it your way, life that is. Most regrets are for things you didn’t do. This poem called “Moments”, allegedly written by Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges, kind of sums it up:

If I could live again my life,
In the next – I’ll try,
– to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be more full – than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,
I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice creams and less (lime) beans,
I’ll have more real problems – and less imaginary ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives –
each minute of his life,
Of course that I had moments of joy – but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,
If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!

I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,

If I could live again – I will travel light,
If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live – but now I am 85,
– and I know that I am dying …

Carpe diem, friends.

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