“Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch”

“The more we value things, the less we value ourselves.” — Bruce Lee

Hey Gang,

It’s me, Tim, your mailman philosophizer, writer, jokester, and all around homeless man impersonator—back with another riveting post.

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One of the last photos taken with my first Fujifilm X100T—before drowning it in a sink.

A year ago, I dropped my EDC Fujifilm X100T in a sink while washing my hands—frying the circuits and ultimately killing the camera. This was the unassuming point & shoot that I carried across mountains in Ireland, whilst sea kayaking on Lake Superior, through countless adventures involving large bodies of water. Ultimately, it took a bathroom sink to kill the little guy—at least he saw some things.

So what did I do?

I had no reason to upgrade and was perfectly happy with the X100T. I could’ve sent it in for repairs. After all, I have a dozen other cameras. But I decided to buy the bigger, better, shinier, newer version—the infamous Fujifilm X100F. I sold my drowned camera and upgraded—because we live in a world of upgrades. Why settle for an iPhone 6 when there’s an 11 on the market? There’s always something to reach for in our society—something to replace the garbage that we hold in our hands.

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X100T VS. X100F

A new camera will help me take better photos right? It will make me look cooler around my peers. It will identify where I exist within the game of photography. A newer, prettier, faster, upgraded anything always leads to happiness and fulfillment—satisfaction guaranteed.

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Hunting Trip — X100T

 

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Miami, Florida—A Homeless Man’s Abandoned Shoes—X100T

I loved the X100F until I dropped it—several months into owning it. The drop was catastrophic, despite only being about a foot long fall. I sent the camera into Fujifilm to inquire about repairs—only to find out that the cost would equal that of a new camera.

I was at a crossroad. 

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Sending in my broken X100F for repairs
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Refusing to pay the cost of a new camera in order to repair my X100F

You see, there’s another element to this story. I spent the summer months saving up for—what?—a new camera. I guess the X100F wasn’t good enough after all. I had my eyes set on a $3000 Leica M6 35mm rangefinder film camera. Sure, I have a closet full of film cameras that work great—but having a Leica around my neck—well that’s when you know you’ve made it.

All the cool kids have Leica’s.

I wanted to be a cool kid.

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Bargain Shop, Kendallville, Indiana — X100T
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Florida Keys Gift Shop — X100T

So I spent hours drooling over Leica bodies on eBay—literally hours, days—time that I could have spent taking photos, reading, learning, talking with friends. I set alerts on my phone so I could see the newest listings. I started shopping for lenses before I even had the camera body. I became obsessed with the idea of owning a Leica and thinking that it would make me happy. Then I broke my X100F.

That’s when a thought occurred to me.

“Maybe you should buy insurance for your camera equipment.” 

Yeah that’s probably a good idea—but that’s not the purpose of this post.

The thought that occurred to me was a little more profound than equipment insurance. I started thinking about how this was all just BS. I realized how stupid it is to think that my happiness should come from an object that I own. I started questioning the motivations behind the culture that we live in.

“Why do we work so hard to make money to buy things that we don’t have time to use because we’re always busy working—or shopping as it were.”

What are we being taught in this endless pursuit of bigger, better, faster tech? What are we teaching our kids when we back up a dump-truck and bury them in toys and useless garbage each birthday and Christmas? Is this how we express love—or is this how we teach that happiness only comes from more?

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Miami, Florida — X100T
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Miami, Florida — X100T

More {insert material object} should not be the end goal. “Happiness is not a fish that you can catch.” Sure a new camera will make you happy—until it falls in a sink. Then what? Should we be placing our psychological well-being, our identities—on something so fragile? Are we building our proverbial houses on piles of silicon (i.e. carbon materials like coke, coal and wood chips)?

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Cedar Point — X100T
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“Food Truck Friday”, Kendallville, Indiana — X100F

I sold the shiny, new, barely used broken Fujifilm X100F for $400. I used that money to buy a very much used Fujifilm X100T—the camera that I started this story with. I was back to my original unassuming point & shoot—full of scars, dents, and completely weathered from adventures. This camera was evidently owned by a cyclist at one point. There’s dust in the viewfinder, the ON/OFF button sticks, but it takes photos—and that’s really all that matters. If I break this one—I’ll just buy another used copy.

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My new used Fujfilm X100T. Its seen some things—but there’s plenty of life left.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” — Mark Twain

As for the Leica, I put a halt to my senseless obsessing by using the money I had saved to buy a USED Fujifilm Xpro 2 (the older version, not the newest one). For a third of the price of a Leica, I was able to buy a WEATHER SEALED rangefinder and test out some of Fujifilm’s lenses—something I’ve always wanted to do. The Xpro 2 became my Leica or as Zach Arias says “Fujifilm is the New Leica“.

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Beat up Fujifilm X100T with 28mm Adapter & Weather Proof Fujifilm XPro 2 with 7Artisan 35mm 1.2 Manual Focus Lens

I’m out of the cool kid’s club—who needs a $3000 film camera when I can buy one for .25 cents at the bargain shop.

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Florida Keys — Fujifilm X100T
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Little Havana, Miami, Florida — Fujifilm X100T

You may be asking yourself—why did you buy two cameras when you had this realization that more isn’t the answer. Well these are two separate tools. A camera is a tool. I have one tool to carelessly throw in a bag, drop, scar, dent, and ding. I have another tool that I can take with me when there’s a possibility of precipitation. No more obsessing over camera bodies or lenses. I’m content with the cameras that I own.

“I will concern myself more with the process of creating, rather than obsessing over the tools in which I use to create.”

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Little Havana, Miami, Florida — X100T
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Little Havana, Miami, Florida — Fujifilm X100T

Happiness isn’t something you win in an eBay auction.

It’s not a Black Friday deal.

It’s not the car you drive.

It’s not the house you live in.

It’s not what you have hanging around your neck.

Happiness is inside you—it’s something you create—it’s a perspective that you carry like a light. You have to foster that light—and for crying out loud—try to keep it dry.

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One Year Later — X100T

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Good post and good pictures. That sucks about breaking those cameras. Nice to hear you got another T. I never got people’s infatuation with Leica cameras. I mean I understand they’re great and all, but they have never appealed to me whatsoever. Anyhow I’m glad you’re happy and I hope you continue to be so.

    Liked by 1 person

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