Inevitable End-of-the-Year Reflections

With Christmas Day over and my house a disaster, I thought a lot today about what I want to/need to do in the next two weeks while I’m off of work and the girls are still out for break. I also read a great article on my photography friend Yvette’s blog here that made me think even harder about the new year and the resolutions we all inevitably make. The girls were playing in the backyard, and the cat and I were kind of watching them through the window for a while as I wandered around, deep in thought. Then they caught me watching, so they talked me into coming out too and I already had my camera in my hands :)

I usually use that coveted time (when they’re getting along AND their cute little voices aren’t quite so loud) to do things that require thinking — reading, balancing the checkbook, etc. But I try to remember when everyone tells me to play more with my kids and that I can read and balance the checkbook when they’re in bed at night. It reminded me of what my grandfather told me when he was near the end of his life — “I always wish I had’ve spent more time at home, with my kids, instead of working all my life.” And you hear women often say things like “stop cleaning and PLAY with your kids.” I could go on and on about how the concept of a father and a husband working too much has shaped me and changed my life, but I’m saving lots of thoughts that require too much writing on my end and reading on everyone else’s for my 365 for next year, which I think I might do on my other blog, since it’s more of a personal journey I want to document anyway. After taking a few snaps outside, I came in a put the camera down and then we spent an hour or so collecting lemons and building more fairy houses (my girls’ favorite thing to do in the backyard!)

Although I wish I could document EVERYTHING (and I’m assuming if you’re visiting my blog you have some sort of mild interest in what I post) I realize that sometimes only my kids like to look at pictures of everything we do in painstaking detail. But then, THAT is what I love about photography. Capturing a memory, not creating one. I love to capture the minutia of life because later, we all sit down and re-experience what we lived through the photograph(s) that helped capture it all. So, it might be minutia, but it’s MY minutia!

My point is, it’s difficult sometimes for me to put down the camera and live the experience rather than attempt to capture the experience for everyone else (and myself). My girls are used to my camera being a fixture, but too often I experience our lives through the viewfinder rather than by being a part of the action. I really do try to do both, but I hate missing a photograph of things sometimes more than I hate missing actually being a part of the experience. Am I twisted or what?

That is what my New Year’s Resolution is. To put the camera down more often, and try to have a better balance between what is happening and attempting to capture what is happening. Which then leads me to my next thought — perhaps I should pursue photography to supplement my income as a public school teacher. I share a contract, which means I basically make 50% of the salary of all of the other teachers, and while I CHOSE to work half time, I did so in 2004, which was a several years before my divorce. Hindsight is always 20/20, we all know. And though I’ve loved being able to spend so much time at home with my kids, I also would love to save more money and feel more financially sound. If I could make some sort of living capturing the minutia of other people’s lives, I’d perhaps satisfy that need for myself, and make a little supplemental income as well. Anyway, just thinking out loud, and also thinking a lot about the 365 I’d like to do next year. This will be my 5th year, 2 projects were failures, but I’m hooked :) Also, for any of my Flickr contacts that want to join, there is a 365+1 for 2012 group here.

If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, I’d love to hear from you — don’t be shy! I’m always interested in why people visit and what, if anything, makes them want to visit again. The comment box doesn’t require that anyone fill anything out but their first name :)

Oh, and perhaps one thing on my list of to-do’s should be to try to fix the arbor that is leaning at a ridiculous angle in that last picture? There’s a heavy bouganvilla growing on top, and that thing has seen better days ;)

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