“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman
I remember when my kids were babies, and I took, like, 500 photos of them every month. Everything was photo-worthy, every expression that crossed their sleeping faces, every version of a smile, every attempt to scoot, crawl, and toddle across the living room floor. But time passes and somewhere along the way I stopped taking so many photos. I know it’s not just me; as my kids approach adolescence they’re not the willing photo-shoot participants they once were, nor are they so absorbed in their activity that they don’t notice their mother holding a rather large camera and approaching them surreptitiously for a candid shot. No matter – I want to get back to that place where I saw enough wonder in the simple moments of every day to take out the camera and attempt to capture an image, a memory. I want to take more pictures this year. Lots more pictures. I want to remember that every photo doesn’t have to be perfect. I want to remember that I can sift through a mass of photos and find a gem. Maybe it’s because my kids ARE getting older, and I’m starting to glimpse a future when they’ll spend more time out in the world than here at home with me. Maybe it’s because last year I read, and loved, Katrina Kenison’s The Gift of an Ordinary Day. Or it could be the line that’s stuck with me from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, the imperative to “be a treasure trove of happy memories”, though in my mind I paraphrase it just slightly, to “build” a treasure trove of happy memories. I am definitely the chronicler in my family, the one who takes the photos and buys the frames and creates the photo books. And lately I’ve noticed that I’ve slacked off, that our photo-memories have been lazily relegated to the cloud, rather than welcomed as a living part of our home. Note to self – take more pictures, and frame them, share them, build that treasure trove!
The same goes for my writing. I want to write more this year, just get all these stories out of my mind and onto the page, and let go of the need to write well the first time around. I agree with the line of thinking that states you really can’t call yourself creative just by thinking all day long – you have to make something. And usually you have to make a lot of somethings in order to be able to sift through the mass and find a gem. So here’s to the New Year, and here’s to recognizing our untapped potential – in 2012 I will take more photos and I will write more pages. What will you do?