Why not go pop the jug on, then settle down for a little story ….
A photo a day challenge – July 2015
Two years ago I participated in a 365 Photo a day challenge – that’s right, one photo every day for a year. I won’t pretend it wasn’t tough – September that year was horrendous in Auckland, it was horribly cold (well, for Auckland), and I’m sure it rained almost every day of the month. There’s only so many photos you can take of the rain, and things in the rain. That kind of weather definitely gets you down after a while, and it showed in my motivation and inspiration for the project. I had done so well up to September, but I did fail miserably this month. The month wasn’t an ‘epic fail’ however, as my life lesson to take away from that, is that September is a really good time to escape for a little holiday, preferably somewhere tropical!
Anyway, enough on that. I have been a scrapbooker for 18 years now, creating albums for my boys and my family since they were born. And in all that time of recording memories, it was the 365 photo a day project that taught me one of my best scrapbooking/life lessons.
One of the key reasons I took on the 365 PAD project was because of my interest in photography. Through creating my albums, I have a keen interest in taking better photos. In having to take a photo every day, this was a good way to really learn how to use my camera, and practice all those things I’d been taught. It is only through repetition that skills like that really get cemented in our brains (or at least in mine!).
But two key and slightly unexpected things occurred as a result of the project. The first and most striking for me, is how many of us are scrapbooking ‘incorrectly’. We all scrapbook the ‘big’ moments in our lives – birth, birthdays, holidays, Christmas – the special celebrations where the camera is brought out automatically. But these celebrations make up such a small percentage of our actual lives, and when looking back, won’t give a very comprehensive historical view. What really is the most important thing to scrapbook and document, is all the moments that make up our everyday lives. It’s not the big moments that matter the most, it’s the routines we have, the people we see on a daily basis, the way we live and share our lives, day in day out. Look at your photos – how many photos do you have with your best friend, your parents, your animals, in your house, in your garden? How do you spend everyday? What does day to day life look like in your house? Do you go to the gym, are your kids in sport, do you walk to school, do you have a hobby, who cooks dinner in your house most days, what do you eat for breakfast Sunday morning, where do you go to church, what are your family traditions? You get the picture – there’s a whole lot of life that we live, that we don’t document or photograph. And yet, this is the life that needs to be celebrated and shared. The little things really are the big moments.
Guess what – as a result of doing this, another process started happening. When you have to take a photo everyday for 365 days, you start to run out of ideas to photograph. So you start looking for the ‘small’ things. You get out and notice a lot more of what’s around you, and you find that there’s a whole lot of beauty around. And you appreciate it. You appreciate that it’s in your back yard, or in your neighbourhood. The project forces you to take some ‘time out’ – just a minute – and that minute takes you out of the day to day, and returns a great gratitude for our lovely world, our healthy children, etc. My 365 project became part photography, part gratitude journal. And I love it for that.
Life coaches have long espoused the value in writing a nightly journal, especially in recording something to be grateful for in each day. In an interview with author Gretchen Rubin, author and University of Houston research professor Brené Brown said, “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness — it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” Brown’s philosophy wasn’t wrong, at least not according to research. Studies show that the more you express thanks, the happier you are. (Huffington Post)
From this realisation, challenges and project groups have bloomed – Gratitude Challenges that start from 1 day, to 100 days, to a lifetime project.
So where am I going with this? CTMH have a special on My Crush books this month, which has inspired me to create a challenge for YOU!
On July 1st, I’d like you take up the Photo a Day challenge for the month of July. (Although doing it over a year is fabulous, it is a big commitment, and doing it for a month is a great way to get ‘your toes wet’). Take a photo every day, of your ‘every day’. At the end of each week, print your photos, and get them into a book or your album. The CTMH My Crush books are just perfect for this type of project (the current special on them is what’s inspired me to run this challenge now), or if you’re currently creating a family album, it could just slip right in to this years’ book. There are no rules. I would encourage you to write a little ‘story’ with your photos – that old adage ‘that a picture tells a thousand words’ simply isn’t true. Any hesitation you have in journaling will soon disappear as you begin – sharing your thoughts and your life is amazingly therapeutic – and if you want to turn your project into a photo a day/gratitude journal combo, all the better.
I have created a closed FB group for you to share your stories, pages, photos and progress.
Let’s all learn to take photos, print photos, celebrate the everyday, be grateful for the amazing lives we have, the incredible country we live in, and the friends and family we share our lives with.
PS. If you have friends who don’t print their photos and have never created an album, share this info and challenge with them, it’s a perfect project to ‘try’.