On the 30th of December, 2015, at around 11pm, you’d have found me on the hill of Waiohika Estate, Gisborne.
I’m watching Nero on stage. Actually, I can’t see Nero. All I can see is this tornado of lights; they extend to the crowd below who bounce with a similar exuberance.
Usually, I’d be pondering how weird it is that we’ve all travelled 6 hours and paid money to move our bodies to sound. I probably did consider this a moment earlier.
But now I’ve asked a question, and the answer I’ve received has taken me aback.
“Do you go out much in Auckland?”
“Yeah, I do – a bit. Sometimes it just feels unproductive.”
For some reason, the response really stumps me. I’m quietened for a moment. The thing is, I’d never really thought of it this way. I mean, of course, there are always other things we could be doing. Things that will get us ahead in life. But socialising, meeting new people, dancing – that’s not time wasted, right?
We’d both head back into the mosh pit later that night. Any earlier conversation would be drowned out by another DJ set. But in the morning, I’m still throwing around this idea of productivity. What does it mean to me? When I get back to Auckland I’m having New Year clear-outs, I’m posting letters I’ve been meaning to send, I’m contacting people I’ve intended to contact. But I’m still left wondering: What, if any of it, makes me productive?
If I write a load of crap, am I still productive in that I wrote? If I complete a list of unnecessary errands, am I still productive simply on the basis of their completion?
It’s January 8th and until a couple of days ago, these questions were bugging me to the point of utter dissatisfaction, despite completing various tasks.
I was filling out forms on the 3rd, and get this, I filled the date 2014. Sure, the whole January thing shakes me up every year – that sort of brash behaviour is set to get anyone. But most of us don’t fall TWO YEARS OUT. Yeah, that’s right. I’d been absolutely thrown days before the New Year. I was evaluating my entire existence, never mind another year’s resolutions.
Hey- breath. You needn’t worry. There is an uphill turn to this story. One could say I lost myself and found her again in a few days. Hehe, and we wonder why we’re single.
On the 6th, Tony and I finally went out to shoot, after what seemed like decades of a break. We would capture NINA, our first collaboration for 2016 (aye, things are looking up for me).
So we took to the local racecourse, largely because I’m digging a kind of sporty edge right now; I live in anything neoprene or similar. Also because we needed somewhere understatedly epic to match this bomber jacket and it’s story.
Basically, Tony thought it was $90, returned to the sale the following day to find it was something like $360. A kind sales perk threw the tag mishap over his own shoulder, and sold it for $90 anyway. What’s better is it may or may not be a one-off piece. It was manufactured solely for NZ Fashion Week, so trusting it wasn’t chosen for the collection by buyers, it may be the only one made. Have you seen it anywhere else? (*crosses fingers you haven’t*).
Although I hadn’t planned for it, it was in taking these photos that I finally got my answer about productivity. When Tony raised his eyebrows, and smiled as he looked up from his camera, I knew we were creating something good. And it didn’t matter how long it would take, or how many times over the next few hours he would start nodding, or tell me to come and take a look. I felt productive, simply because I was doing something that made me proud.
So there we have it. My definition of productivity, and too the definition I plan to live by throughout this year. If we are doing, being or creating something that makes us feel excited inside, then, by all means we are being productive.
Of course, the things that make each of us proud are extremely variable. For some, to go to Uni is to hold off life as it is now. For others, it’s an opportunity to become knowledgeable, to gain grounds for life and success in the future.
Likewise, a night out to some is little more than a hangover the following day. Others will view it as a chance to let go, to live with the balance we so desire.
This year, I say alter your resolution. Yes, endeavour to be productive. But make sure it’s in a way that makes you proud, not the rest of society.
Create, see, and do in line with satisfying the person you want to be, and achieving the life you want to lead.
Remember that to judge another’s ideal use of time is to waste our own. If an act makes another happy – and it’s not harmful towards anyone else – then no longer does it warrant the label unproductive.
I’d like to think I dress with the same idea in mind. Tony and I went to grab a bite after this shoot, and I spotted my old primary school teacher. My dark make-up and crop top weren’t exactly the criteria for my reading certificates in Y6. But I decided to own it. I wouldn’t argue with my outfit, persuading it to play itself down. I’d let my boots and disheveled hair speak for themselves as they rocked around Ponsonby Central. I’m proud of my style, as much as I am of my body, my spirit and the work I’m creating. Thankfully, my outfit would portray all of that.
If my teacher thought I had proceeded far from edgy, but off the rails, then so be it. We all perceive choices through a differing lens. What’s important is that we stay true to our own vision. In all facets of life, we should do, be and represent what makes us proud as an individual. That is the secret to productivity.
Shot by Tony Collins