Skip to main content


BATHROOM: Crystal Bay Hotel, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 14, 2022

I’m surprised by how much I like getting old.

I don’t mean the pains and aches that come with age – those are just the daily dues you have to pay for surviving all the things that could have gone tragically wrong along the way.

The payoff, if you’re lucky, is that you now have the chance to figure out what it was all about. And what it is all about probably is not what you thought it was all about when you were younger, stronger, and didn’t have the time or the patience to pause and reflect.

Old age is an opportunity to separate who you are from what you did to put groceries on the table and a roof over your family’s heads. It’s a time for revelation and learning, and I’m getting smarter by the day.

My wife Carmela and I just returned from a road trip to Florida. We admired the scenery, spent a ton of money on hotels, visited with kin folks and, as with all road trips, took lots of pictures. And what I found is this.

I like taking the pictures of people and I like looking at them, but when it comes time to pick my favorite shots, they’re usually not of the people – however much I love those people – my favorite photos are of things.

The desert, the sky, the ocean, mountains, swamps and trees. Bridges, buildings, windows, birds, highways, and other inanimate objects.

BEACH CHAIRS AT SUNSET: Gulfport, Florida, February 19, 2022
TREES: Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Lousiana, February 10, 2022

Lessons learned:

  1. Being an amateur photographer helped open up the world for me. All the things that people zoom by without seeing, suddenly pop up and reveal themselves through the lens.
  2. I know the people, and I love the people, but mostly we end up taking pictures just for the sake of recording their images one more time. The candid shots are always better, the shots where nobody is posing, where the secrets behind the façade reveal themselves.
  3. As much as I love people, sometimes I crave aloneness, being away from everybody, being by myself in the middle of nowhere, with no electronic and social connection to the rest of the world.

Strange thoughts for a person who doesn’t necessarily believe in God – at least not the one touted by the preachers and prophets from around the world. Maybe that’s the difference between being religious and being spiritual.

I’m still working on that.

George Lee Cunningham

Credit where credit is due. Two of the photos in this article were taken by my wife, Carmela Cunningham. No problem. I often take credit for her brilliant work. If you would like to subscribe to our work, you may contact me at and let me know and you will get an email reminder of blog postings. Your name will not be shared and you may cancel at any time.