A total brain reset

9 comments on A total brain reset
3 minutes
Old Ford truck NB on SR 67
Nikon Df, 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF Nikkor, 2022

This year’s Wednesday series of posts is simple: find a photograph from my archives and write something, anything, that it inspires.

This went very well at first. Looking through my past photographs my mind flooded with things to write. But over the last few weeks that’s slowed down, and now I’m struggling for ideas.

I know why. I’m too busy and too tired. I overcommitted myself at work and put in a lot of extra hours over the last month or so. Also, we’re finally sorting through Mom’s things in her home after her estate cleared probate, and that’s levied an emotional tax. I even found some letters in my parents’ files that were quite upsetting, personal things between my parents and me I would have rather not revisited. I’m not sleeping well enough or long enough.

The founder and CEO of the company I work for talks a lot about how important mindset is to performance. I think it’s important to creativity, too. My mindset has been poor lately. I’m edgy and grumpy, tired and pessimistic. This is not fertile ground for ideas to sprout and flourish.

The company bought group mindset coaching for every department. My team meets with our coach every other Friday right before lunch. A few sessions ago our coach talked about how elite performance demands elite recovery. In other words, a person needs to rest. The mindset coach recommended epic rest and recovery. He wanted us to make time to completely get out of our boxes, as often as we need it.

I thought back to my two road trips along Indiana State Road 67 the previous autumn. I followed its original path, before it was improved and realigned to what it is today. I took photos in all of the small towns, and of all the old bridges. I got the feeling of exploring, seeing what’s around that bend. Plus, photography is my hobby.

Road trips are surprisingly tiring. I broke this one into two days, about two weeks apart. On the first day, I headed home when I found myself to be too weary to want to photograph the things I normally do. On the second day, I drove straight to where I left off and drove the old road to its end.

Even then, this trip was a total brain reset. An hour into it each day, whatever was going on in the rest of my life was a million miles away from my mind. I slept hard each of the nights after. I felt a lot more present in the days that followed, a lot sharper, a lot more creative. I wrote a bunch of blog posts in a flurry. Things that had been weighing me down at work, I solved.

It’s time for me to take another road trip!

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9 responses to “A total brain reset”

  1. Jane Herr Avatar
    Jane Herr

    Please do take another road trip! I would like to say just do it for yourself but on a little bit of a selfish thing do it for me! As a lifelong resident of Indiana I love your pix of the old roads, the little towns with old buildings and especially the old bridges. Looking forward to your upcoming posts.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My main danger is running out of old roads I can easily get to!

  2. ronian42 Avatar

    Would this work Jim? Step outside your door, think of a clock for direction. Pick a time and walk 100 paces in that direction. Stop take out the camera take a picture, some pictures whatever. Think wide, think telephoto,think macro, think texture/shadow/colour whatever. When you feel you’ve exhausted those options, pick another time, walk 100 paces in that direction and repeat. Keep doing this and see what you come up with. If your locality doesn’t give you 100 paces try 50, 75, 10 or whatever but keep them consistent. Another day try a different number of paces. Just a thought but it may help you reset. If it helps shoot digital instead of film to give you more shots per location. You never know, you might find something you want to revisit and shoot on film. (Alternatively take initial shots on your phone and carry a film camera as well.) Happy reset !!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I make photographs in my neighborhood all the time! It’s always right here, and it’s always easy to step out and clear my head with a camera in hand.

  3. brandib1977 Avatar

    I’m about to take a road trip and couldn’t be more excited. It should do wonders for my mindset and all around well being.

    I wish you better rest and happiness. However you get there, just remember that life is too short to not care for yourself and to not be happy.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve had to work hard over the last 20 years to learn how to take care of myself spiritually, and emotionally. I’m pleased with how much progress I’ve made!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        I’m proud of you!

  4. J P Avatar

    You will have to give old US 30 a shot sometime. Although there would be plenty of wasted time getting to it and going home after.

    I know how you feel. I am nearing an announcement of a major life change. Consider this a teaser.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You’re growing your hair out and joining a commune? I always knew this day would come!

      A lot of US 30 is the Lincoln Highway, and it is 100% on my must-drive list. I think that would be a situation where I drove up Sunday night, got a hotel room, and headed out from there in the morning to return home in the evening. There’s the original alignment that goes through South Bend, and the later US 30 alignment.

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