On Seeing, A Journal. #453

Growing Up: William Haight

October 26, 2021


This award has just been announced!


3 years and 25 years


I have studied over 200 children from childhood into their 20’s some starting in utero and when they were newborns, as in this case with William, and others when they were about six or seven, making annual studio portraits and asking them, once they learned to read and write, to write answers to a series of questions, a kind of diary about their lives, their feelings, their hopes, their regrets.

I loved seeing William each year, a terrific kid.

His story became gripping and poignant……..


Mom to be: 11 days before labor and birth


6 days old


3 years old


8 years old


10 years old


11 years old


13 years old


15 years old


19 years old


With mom at 19 years old.


25 years old


When I read this I became quite concerned..

I called him and we spoke about his depression. I suggested, strongly, that he seek help.

I had continued to call and write William.

After over a year he responded: he was better;  we had a warm conversation.

Because he lived on the West Coast and I in NYC, I asked him to please answer some questions about his life, currently.  These are his responses:

At 26+ years:

“Striving everyday to help people, and make people feel happy.
I think too much about everything, commit too much time too small, insignificant (in the big scheme of things) ideas and situations. I want to change my view of the world. I think we’re thoroughly  F*****.
I need to stop judging and start enjoying.
Money, or lack thereof and keeping my parents happy/situated. I’m worried about being a worker-ant for the rest of my life. Life should be so much more than work. I will happily work and earn my keep, but I’m afraid of the monotony. Hangovers also cause serious anxiety.
At this moment, I don’t have anyone to go to if there are problems or trouble.
Greatest regret is not figuring out what I loved in the world. It’s not too late, but I learned the value of understanding what is important to you in life.
Depression is wack and part of mine was a lack of a path.
Become financially free and finally start my life.
Golf could be Top 5. Everything disappears when you take the course.
Life has a funny way of inhibiting my desire to think about the future.”
I am moved by the things he’s expressed and his striving to make a life for himself. I am hopeful.
I am interested in everything about human development, fascinated by maturation, growth, emotional, educational and physical development. This exploration has been a major 30 year odyssey, an adventure that has yielded riches beyond my initial imagining.

Permission was signed by the parents of each and every child every year, and by the participants themselves once they turned 18. In addition, we have now sent copies of all of their writings and edited photographs to the participants for whom I have finished all my editing and have received full permission from that group to publish and post.