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The Series That Cannot Be Named ... Month 3

The Series That Cannot Be Named ... Month 3

Pennsylvania family photographer, Philadelphia family photojournalism, Documentary family photography, Family photojournalism, Day In the Life photography, In home photo session, Philadelphia family photographer, Family photo ideas, Family picture inspiration, Unique Family photos, Philadelphia Lifestyle family photos, Pennsylvania Lifestyle images

This is month 3 of my 1-year journey to figure out what I want. I’m on a mission to be happy and content every single day. I’m still working through the names that my lovely Instagram followers came up with.

The Flow

(Another name gift from Brandee at Judith + Joe.)

I Guess I Like Routines

I was in Colorado for most of August. I had 10 photo shoots, a trip to Utah, several meetings, and so many friends to catch up with. Every single person I saw mattered to me. And there were a lot of friends who also matter to me and I didn’t even get to see them.

I’m exhausted.

This is probably the worst I’ve felt, contentment-wise since I started this little project. This is not a reflection of my trip, but rather my attitude. I was the opposite of balanced this month. I felt frantic and busy, stretched thin and not present.

I thought being in Colorado for so long would give me time to do everything I wanted to do. But it just gave me more days to fill up space with ALL THE ACTIVITIES.

I missed the routine of being home with all my stuff. I missed taking my dog to the park, running with my friend twice a week, and eating the same Indian takeout that we always get on Fridays. Granted, I also was doing all the things I missed from Colorado: seeing friends, eating Mexican food, photographing again.

My attitude needed to be: I’m back in a place I love with people I love. Enjoy the moments and don’t stress about what and who you’re missing out on.

Instead my attitude was: How can I have fun when 2 weeks isn’t long enough to do everything I need to do?

Lightbulb moment: contentment maybe doesn’t mean being completely, 100% fulfilled by whatever I’m doing. It means that I can acknowledge there is something different going on somewhere else—maybe even something better—but I’m still choosing to be happy with my exact circumstance.

It’s not about the best thing all the time. It’s about investing in what’s in front of me and valuing the experience for what it’s giving me.

The Gift Of Time

I think that’s the lesson for me this month: time is a gift. But it’s got some strings attached. We’re given the same amount every day and we have to choose what to do with it. Rather than trying to bend it to my will, I need to honor it and maybe just go with The Flow (get it?!).

In month 1, I talked about my values for the year. I named purpose, stewardship, and gratitude as three of the most important values to focus on.

Our time is where we live out our values. How am I living my purpose in how I spend my time? Am I being a good steward of my time? Am I grateful for the time I have rather than resenting the time I don’t have?

I can’t live out these values if I’m trying to cram too much into my days. Time is a gift but it’s also a sure thing. I get 24 hours a day and no one can change that. Which leads me to …

The Big -IES

Last month I wrote about not wanting to miss out on my life. This month I maybe did too much life. There’s gotta be a happy medium, right?

But there’s synchronicity there. My phone and social media distracted me from ordinary moments with my husband and daughter. And then actual events and work and other people took me away from them this month. When I sit down to write these posts, I think about how I spent my time and where I gave my attention.

And ya know what? After three months, there are two words that keep coming up for me: The Big -IES.

Priorities.
Boundaries.

Guys, I’m real bad at both of these. I’m bad at priorities because I don’t set boundaries. I wake up every day with good intentions and then at some point a little thing I call “What Everyone Else Thinks” starts to become louder than those intentions. I get so wrapped up in making sure I’m at the top of everyone else’s list that I go to the bottom of my own. Scratch that: I don’t even make my own list.

People talk about self-care and I laugh. It’s not that I’m so selfless that I don’t take time for me. It’s that I’ve spent 32 years caring what everyone else thinks so I forget there even is a me. Where do my wants and needs begin and the concerns of other people end? Where does the shoreline begin and the beach start? #amiright?

Ok, that was real honest but I’m leaving it. I’m just so tired. I’m tired of talking about the same things every month and feeling like I’m treading water here. I know this is part of the process and the very reason I started this little journey, but some days I feel like I’m not getting anywhere.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Is reading this helping you? Can you relate to this are am I crazy?

Maybe I should have written this in my journal. I told you I would overshare on the Internet this year. Dear Diary …

This coming month, I’m writing down what I’m grateful for every day. Mostly because everyone says to do that. Obviously, it’s not helping much so far.

I’m also going to continue deleting Instagram during the day and try to change my mindset about time. Rather than running against the clock, I’m going to try to think about every hour as a gift. What do I do with this gift? How do I spend it? What is the priority? If something infringes on that priority, what boundary do I need to set?

EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY THIS SHOULD BE NO PROBLEM AT ALL FOR ME.

Until next month:

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My Round-Up of #TheFlow Resources

A life book I loved Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m approximately 6 years late to this party, but better late than never. I loved this book. The story itself was fantastic, but the commentary on race had me verbally “Mmhmm”-ing and writing observations down. Get the Audible version because the accents are incredible.

This is usually where I tell you about a business book I liked … But guess what? I didn’t have time to read that much this month. But I did re-watch Brene Brown’s special on Netflix and cried a couple times.

A memoir that was OKBorn A Crime by Trevor Noah. My husband actually loved this book. I thought it was interesting and thoughtful, but I was much more into Americanah so I think it got overshadowed in my brain. His voice is delightful and his mother is hilarious. Definitely worth listening to (I’m just calling audiobooks reading at this point I guess).

Two podcasts I loved
The Get Paid Podcast by my friend Claire Pelletreau. She asks people who make money online how they make and how much of it there is. For real. She’s the best.
Throughline by NPR. Specifically episode 17 about evangelicals and politics. (Thank you to Jamie B. Golden for this recommendation.) It kinda reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast and also More Perfect by Radiolab. It’s basically the best.

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