The Birthday Post

“Hey Ronny…. It’s your birthday.. You made it!” ~ From the movie “Born on the 4th of July”.

The above line was when Ron Kovic, played by Tom Cruise, who all his life was an overachieving gung-ho American, enlists for the Vietnam war and comes back paralyzed from the waist down. Can't walk. His world is shattered. On the evening of his birthday after returning from Vietnam, he’s talking to his friend Tim, who also just came back from Vietnam. “Ronnie” is ranting about how bad everything has been since he got shot. His friend “Timmy” says “Ronnie, it’s your birthday…. You made it!”.

Timmy was telling Ronnie, as bad as things are, appreciate that you’re alive. 

This quote popped up in my head today: My birthday.

The magnitude of what I’ve gone through and accomplished this past year really didn’t dawn on me until just a few days ago. I don’t know if I’ve had a year harder in my life than the one I just made it through. I thought my reality was going to go poof! Mind you, not death. But a whole many other things. I can’t go into why and how. It would take a book. But let’s just say, it was a bad time. Everything was crumbling.

But I made it!

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Images from my birthday. I was going to go to work today but had a sore throat. So I called in sick. Decided to have a lazy day and treat myself to a nice breakfast at my favorite diner. Started feeling really sick before leaving the diner. Slept. A lot. Pizza for dinner. Some groceries. Then, writing this blog post. A really great day.

Not only that, flourishing. Not as much as I’d like…. You see, there goes the “I should be doing better” mentality again…. But if someone else were to tell me a story similar to mine, I’d be telling them “You’re absolutely killin’ it! What are you talking about!” And that’s what I finally came to realize a few days ago. I guess it really took a certain amount of time and particular occasion, like my birthday.

This was the year of rebuilding the wardrobe. I have this blank space in my room where I can do some fun selfie-style pics! Sort of a record of my wardrobe rebuilding.

When I started out, I really just had a few things. I basically would wear most of my clothes for the week and wash it all for the next. Then money started coming in. Through extraordinary busting of my ass. Some of the things shown here I've had. Mostly the shoes. There is a short-sleeved shirt here that you see plenty here that I've had for 5 years and love. Usually use for one of my jobs. It's comfortable and classic. 

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I've also quite the master and lucky at sales and budget shopping. The outfits you see are mostly under $110. And I love them. My style. Classic.

I LOVE Gap khakis and they had a sale: $25/each. I bought 6 of 4 different colors. I've had experience with Rockport and Clark's shoes and figured I'd purchase a few pairs. They are relatively inexpensive between $55 - $70 on sale. Super comfortable. They look fantastic for my style. These will last at least two years since I can rotate through them. I'm wearing one pair of my Allen Edmonds in these pics. Which is about 3x more money. And you feel the difference. For now, the others are totally fine. And I'm grateful for them. I don't have any dressy sneakers and bought these Rockport ones. I absolute LOVE them! Not only look great but are super comfortable. 

I think the coolest and funnest thing I've re-discovered is 2nd hand clothing stores. I bought a Brooks Brothers light-blue v-neck sweater and light-yellow long sleeve shirt shown here. About 4 years ago. New condition. Salvation Army. $8. Each. I still have them. I tend to find 2nd-hand clothing stores by accident. Some other items I've bought recently: a gold-colored with tiny red striped Bulgari tie. Retail: $250. My cost: $40. Gorgeous. The Valentino tie shown with the Bulgari. Retail: $110. My cost: $20. Perfect condition. The Hugo Boss navy blazer...  Retail: $450. My cost: $40. Perfect condition and fit.

One of those extraordinary moments of busting my ass. Simply: do more.

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In the heat of battle, it’s sometimes, usually, hard to see yourself from another perspective. To see outside yourself. Because you’re so focused at the task at hand. At beating what it is you’re doing battle with. Working to accomplish.

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Just some pics over the last year. Quite frankly, most of them were during my vacation. Lots of street photography. Visiting the Bronx Zoo. New York Botanical Garden. The American Museum of Natural History. The Met. Lots to do in New York City!

It was when I finally took a week off for vacation last month when my brain was able to reflect. I had all these plans. Out of the 9 days, I needed 3 days of sleep and relaxation. To do practically nothing. I just couldn’t do anything else. I was spent. At the end. But when I came back….

It was quite the lousy year on the fashion photography front. I made some money in Ricardo Gomez Studios, my personal and business photography business. However all I've had time for this year was some practice shoots. But they were great shoots with some great models!

It’s a bit cliché, but I’m revitalized. Things have come and back into focus. I’ve mentioned this before but I’m so happy and excited that I’m becoming more of the person I’ve always wanted to be. And the last year was a total prep year for more and better.

It was the worst, hardest, greatest year of my life.

Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
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