I'm not big on New Year's resolutions but I enjoy using a fresh calendar as an reason to review and reset. We lived in interesting times throughout 2014; a year of many challenges but more than a few wins. I'm developing helpful self-care habits and I've begun to notice a shift in my attitude: Increasingly, and in a wider variety of scenarios, I realize that I'm OK with any outcome that life presents. It's freeing!
Of course I still try for the best outcome. This usually means trying things out and doing more of the things that work, troubleshooting as I go.
Each January I think about participating in the 365 project, shooting and posting at least one image per day for a year. I've attempted this not once, not twice, but three times; my longest stretch made it all the way into October of 2010. You can start any time but with 365 days in the year there's pressure to get started on 1/1, ready or not.
The pressure to get started is helpful. The pressure to keep going is helpful. It's liberating to prioritize output over perfection. Some of my favorite shots were taken on days when I felt the least inspired. That's when we'd whip out the macro lens and start looking at mundane household items in a totally new way.
And, looking back, I very much value the fact that I always had a camera at the ready. Most people just capture birthdays and vacations but Jer and I ended up documenting our day-to-day lives. Biking to work, trips to our favorite movie theaters, Late night happy hour, meals we enjoyed preparing, events we attended, parties we threw. Photo walks and bike adventures.
You forget how special these simple things are and you forget what kind of a couple you were and what kind of a life you led before kids and structure. We will always have these photos, and hopefully this will always help us remember to notice today.
So I got a lot out of taking a photo each day but I never made it all the way through the year. And this January I find myself struggling with the decision to begin again. Since the experience has always been so positive I don't feel haunted by the spectre of previous "failures". But I do want to do better this time and that means figuring out what went wrong.
I have more than one creative draw. I enjoy taking photos but I also enjoy writing. I'd like to learn more about postprocessing and creative photo editing, but my growing library of un-processed photos collects dust as I push out my mediocre snapshot of the day. Sometimes I feel like I have no creative draw - I feel stuck. And that's when self-care, consuming art, or reflecting on my state of mind are creative acts unto themselves.
A lot of this came through in my daily photos but I still felt the constraints of taking one photo each day and posting it. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing beyond that space.
This year I'm trying something new: 365 days of creative acts. No rules or restrictions, no limits. Just an attempt to be supportive of my own enjoyment of anything that feeds my creativity in whatever way feels right each day.
Wish me luck!
Photo: Cattleboat at sunset, taken 1/1/2014 in Akumal, Mexico.