3 things that have been a surprise to me

Over the last two years that I’ve been shooting without a crew, I’ve been surprised by three things:

  1. If there is anything you really wish you knew how to do, it is possible to learn it. I spent almost the last two decades thinking I was not the kind of person who could learn how to operate a camera, light a scene, record sound and edit footage. I’ve never been a tech-y person. When I was in my 20s, my then 8yo sister sat down with a new digital watch and changed all of the settings herself, and I was amazed. But the cliche is true. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
  2. The dread I felt about learning new, “difficult” things was unfounded. Going outside of your comfort zone, taking the risk of looking dumb, being willing to suck at something when you are in that icky-feeling “just getting started” phase–it’s unnerving but it’s also exhilarating. You feel ALIVE. Like anything is possible. You suddenly have a vehicle to get you from here to THERE.
  3. Another thing that has surprised me is that, when you are completely immersed in learning something new or having fun using your newfound skills, it crowds out a lot of your bad habits. You don’t spend nearly as much time worrying, looking at your phone, being concerned about what others think, and otherwise wasting precious time.
  4. Okay, wait, there’s a 4th thing, and it’s the most surprising of all:  There comes a day when you look up and all of these activities that used to intimidate the hell out of you have become part of your daily routine.

Currently, I’m in a comfort zone again, somewhat. And once again, I don’t want to stretch and feel the discomfort of trying new things, to get to the next level.


I guess that’s just a testament to how hard it is to fight inertia.

When you think of the times in which you learned a new skill or pushed yourself to do something challenging, is it gratifying? Do you feel proud?

There’s a saying: “All happiness is growth.”

Maybe not ALL happiness is growth. But arguably progress is one of the most gratifying things we can experience, including observing it in others. For example, it’s really great to see a child you love overcome some difficulty or learn something new.



22 Replies to “3 things that have been a surprise to me”

  1. You are amazing. I love your thoughts and the way u express them!!! SO happy that’s”I knew you when…” Keep doing what you do! It is absolutely inspiring!

  2. Your post initiated a broad smile I have needed for a while now. I used to experience The Four in a circular pattern, but a time delay began to expand between each and those days seem too far away. Wonderful to hear your experience written so clearly and succinctly – great motivation. Time for me to remember that thrill. Thanks,Courtney! I’ve needing a nudge.

      1. Nothing very profound, Courtney…..I simply meant, over times in my life I have experienced something new in precisely the way you laid out the process of your film-making. It was so clear and expressed such value. I want to enjoy that feeling again…it’s so easy to make the assumption one can’t and therefore not take the chance. I simply referred to the idea that this process can be repeated throughout one’s life (i.e. like a circle , can be endless. PS I really miss living next door to you.

      2. Duh! Was lying in bed this morning and suddenly realized what you meant. So true that it’s easy to just assume you can’t do something. You don’t even realize you’re assuming it and that you’re completely closed off to the possibility of being able to grasp it! You were the best neighbor ever–kills me you’re not next door anymore!! Next time we head to the westside, I’ll look you up to see if we can pop in!

  3. Thank you Courtney! I enjoyed reading this and I am currently pushing my boundaries and trying new things so reading this just empowered me to keep moving.
    I love and appreciate you. Keep writing!

  4. This is so wonderful to say, and generous to share!!! A testimony as to why you are so loved (or really, one of the many reasons)… Dang it girlie, you rock it! What is so wonderful in knowing you is to see the steady climb and observation, and sharing along the way. Bless you, and onward. xoxo

  5. This is a great reminder to keep challenging yourself. It’s been so wonderful watching you accomplish something that few people have. You’re inspirational!

    1. Anne, so nice of you to say. What’s screwed up is when I felt the discomfort and then thrill of learning the camera, I realized I hadn’t experienced the sensation of learning something new in YEARS.

      This is random, but Google pics of ‘Jayne Mansfield and dogs’ or ‘chihuahuas’, then let’s discuss next time we get together!

    1. I had been wanting to write this post for a while and yeah, it’s weird that I finally did it now, when I’ve been so miserable I can barely think. When and why people suddenly choose to take action is interesting.

  6. Courtney, I’m so proud of you for trying new things but I can’t say that I am surprised. To me, you have always been a brave soul, ready to try anything xoxo

    1. Rosanne, I never think of myself as brave. But I will try to burn this idea onto my brain, so it becomes part of my self-perception. I miss you and Eric and hope y’all are doing great. Sometimes I think of our Croxall days as the salad days, lol. So fun. xo

  7. Atta Girl! Your reflection is spot on. Wishing you continued success in all that you do.
    Big Hug! xo Looking forward to seeing you in Oct.

    1. Jennifer, I’m excited about the next ‘half’ of our lives, you know? I’m curious to see what cool things you and our peers do in the next couple of decades, now that we know ourselves better, know what we like or enjoy, etc. Yes–look forward to meeting up again in October!

  8. awesome day for me to read this- Nurturer is my primary and advisor is the shadow…. very interesting- but I’m not surprised by the results. Thanks for posting friend! Have a great day.

    1. Nurturer does seem to fit you, and how interesting that Advisor is your shadow! I’m curious how this manifests in your life. You don’t seem to offer advice unsolicited, or are not “pushy” with it, lol. Glad you told me your results! Wish we were meeting up to discuss over coffee. xoxo

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