Been feeling the pull of these last days of August… last days of summer, last days of pregnancy, and—perhaps least momentously (but I am a junkie and will reflect on almost anything)—the last days of my 365 project.
I’ve always loved having a birthday in September. The start of school was exciting to me—learning was one of the few things I felt really good at as a kid, and there was the novelty of new workbooks and new pencils. (Never underestimate the cheering power of new writing supplies.) It’s been a long time since I started a new grade or academic program, but September 3rd is still my birthday and still the start of a new year and a new season to me. I got started on my 365 project a little late last year, but it’s given a special shape to this first year of my 30s, and I’m so glad I (mostly/kinda) stuck with it.
I’ve learned a little bit about our camera, about composition and lighting, and about our photo editing programs over the year, but I’ve learned about myself too. It’s been a busy year, and it kind of freaks me to realize that it’s only been twelve months I had a six-month-old baby who routinely woke up 4+ times a night, the remnants of some scary-bad depression, and a husband who had just graduated from using crutches. Now we have a bona fide toddler (who regularly sleeps through the night, thank God), Carl does home repair projects and chases Iris around the park without the trace of a limp, we’re days away from being a family of four, and I feel good.
When I first noticed the end of this project looming, it was tempting to see more of the negatives to be honest. I missed a lot of days everywhere, but I lost whole weeks in the winter when my first trimester hit and in the summer when I started writing fiction again. Not really a 365 project anymore, I thought. I had meant to be more creative too—to take photos that captured all the facets of our experience, private and public and out in nature. Of course, my creativity wavered even on the days I was disciplined enough to pull out the camera, so mostly I have a lot of snapshots of Iris, a running catalogue of her life from six to eighteen months. And I’d meant to be more disciplined about learning our camera and the editing software, but I still have to squint to remember what ISO means, and Lightroom still overwhelms me.
Eh. The self-criticism can go.
I’m so glad I did it. I know these pictures so well now, and what other year of my life can I remember in so much detail? The days and moments and snack time messiness all worked together to give special shape to my 30th year. I’ll remember this year.
And I DID learn a lot. I learned what kinds of pictures I like and why I like pictures to begin with (memory and reflection, but if you know me then you probably knew that). I learned the bare bones of color correction and a few things about composition and the euphoria of seeing a great picture emerge out of a hundred indifferent ones.
It was fun.
Kind of addicting, actually… I’m already brainstorming a year long project to commemorate my 31st year. Something new, something creative, something to keep the mind and heart engaged and playing. We’ll see.