Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Clearing Space 365 Days

I've signed on to the 365 Days project on Flickr. That means I've been taking (and posting) a self portrait every day. I started on January 1st, and I haven't missed a day so far.

Each day, I take anywhere from three to thirty or more self portraits. (I don't take hundreds because I do not have that kind of time!) I then pare down the selection to one or two "best" images to post on Flickr. This leaves me with hundreds of "out takes" every week. And how many thousands of images can fit onto my camera chip? Lots? Oh, dear.

It's a challenge to keep up with the daily selfie, yeah, but it's even more challenging to deal with the flow of spare images. It's relentless. I delete, delete, delete as I go, or at least a couple times a week.

It turns out this project is as much about daily space clearing as it is about creating a daily self portrait. I shoot, I edit, I pick the shot of the day and upload to Flickr, and it's Buh-Bye to the rest of the remaining shots. I like that once I make my choice, I have no obligation to hang onto extras.

Does that image ever need to see the light of day? No? Delete! Is it the lesser of the group? Yes? Delete! Does it duplicate fifteen, I mean fifty other images that are equally imperfect? Yes? Delete!

Just as in the rest of my life, there's no need to hang on to extraneous files, wishing that they were different/better or thinking that if only I had enough hours in the day to spend with Photoshop, I could massage it into something interesting or useful...some day. Noooo! DELETE!

On a related note, my mother (in the throes of her own decluttering) just offered me some of my dad's mustache hair from when he first started growing it when I was a baby. No, I don't think so. But it's red, she said. It would be interesting to look back on it and compare colors. Don't you think the little girl would want to see it when she gets older? Not really. I can't be a museum for what was or might have been. Delete!

As in photography so as in the rest of my life. Pick what you really want to include in your life, and get rid of the rest. Delete, delete, delete!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year - Living the Life That's in Front Of Me

Hello, New Year! How is it going so far? I've been engrossed in everyday life and haven't been posting - sorry! And I got stuck in my other G00gle account and boy was that a pain. Excuses, excuses!

Just before New Year's I found last year's "Life List" of things I wanted to do with my life. To my surprise, some of the things had been started or completed.
I've been mentoring someone in a small way. I got a really nice haircut and learned how to style my hair. I've been corresponding more by Skype. I've been lifting weights and building core strength. I've pruned trees, notably the fig trees, much to their delight. And I've been cooking good food all year, thanks to the renovated kitchen space.

Without even remembering it, I've been working on new things all year.
Other things I started doing last year:
Exercise regularly, revived my decluttering, sold bunches of baby gear, and started teaching Sunday School again. We took a family trip to Florida to visit my cousin, which was a whole host of firsts in one. (They took us on a "hasher" run and my cousin took me purse shopping, which reintroduced me to the joys thereof. The little girl dabbled in the ocean.) We went camping with the little girl on several different occasions, and I started wearing accessories more effectively. I wrote another crazy dance. I called more squares. I wrote candid emails to my sister. I cleared a corner of the office for the little girl to have her own work space with table and shelving. I've been hacking away at my stories. I pared down my online reading.

All good things.

So, no, I have not walked across England or learned how to make creme brulée (sorry - I can never remember how to spell it) or relearned all my languages or written that book (well at least not THAT book), but it was a good year. I'm not even mentioning all the cool stuff that went on with my daughter and my family.

And the best thing is that I've been "Living the Life That's In Front Of Me." That's my code phrase for paring down distractions and really doing what I want to be doing. It's taken me away from the Internet a fair amount, but really, that's okay! I'm doing more, and that is huge.

When I went to brainstorm a "Life List" for this year, I found myself writing down similar things. Of course, the creme brulée and all that popped up again. But I found myself writing things like:

Edit... Learn... Read and contemplate... Write... Build... Write... Paint... Declutter... Make...Write...Create... Nurture...

Essentially, I want to clear more space in my life so I can create more.

I want to clear the desk and write and illustrate. I want to play. I want to eat less overall, spend less overall, and distract myself less overall.

Since the beginning of the New Year, I've found myself, without forethought, taking up projects anew.

I decided to undertake the 365days project on Flickr, a daily self portrait. Holy cow, where did that come from?! I decided to take out my ukulele for the first time in nearly two years and play with chords and harmonies. Music! I'm dreaming of space to set up my paper and pencils and paints. The siren song of Illustration is calling me. I'm writing. Hack, hack, hack. I attended a step aerobics class. haha! I started taking more naps. Mmm, naps.

Some of that is conscious and some of that is not. I'm thinking that if I plant seeds of intent and then live the life that's in front of me, wondrous things will happen.

What wondrous things are you contemplating this year?