365 Project, Year Three

I finally finished uploading pictures to my third year of the 365 project! For those unfamiliar with it, the basic idea is that you take a picture every day for a year and upload it to Flickr. I first heard about it through my awesome friend (and talented photographer) Melissa, and I knew I just had to try it. And now here we are, three years later. My project started in mid-November, and so it ends in mid-November every year. I have been thinking a lot about those early days, and they make me smile.

I am so glad I did this project. Having all those memories (1,095 of them!) is just invaluable. And at the end of each 365, I get to look back at the highlights. This year included trips to Berkeley, Aspen, Memphis, Idyllwild, the farm, St. Louis, Santa Barbara, and Istanbul, not to mention countless treks around the LA area. It included a lot of beading projects. And sewing projects. And painting and knitting projects. It included tons of soups and vegetables and breads and desserts and fruits. It included sunsets (and one sunrise!) and lots of palm trees, Christmas trees, and blooming flowers. It included our herb garden, our local library, and a good handful of the books and magazines I enjoyed reading this year. What this looks like to me is evidence of a live lived very fully, and I am so grateful for that.

When I started this project, I was desperate for an anonymous creative outlet while writing my dissertation. I wanted my eyes to be open to all the beauty around me, even the most mundane of it. I wanted to learn how to use my camera. And I dove in with both feet. I clicked and clicked and clicked with my camera and my keyboard. I put my whole heart into recording my life there. This project has been so good to me.

And that’s why it’s so hard for me to say goodbye to it. Even as I type this, I am wondering if I am making the right decision. But the truth is that a lot has changed in three years. I have my blog now, where I write every weekday, and I have Project Life for capturing all the little details of our everyday life. I was starting to fall behind in the second year of my 365 project, starting to have more and more days for which I didn’t have a picture, but this year has been exponentially harder. Much of this past year has been crazy busy, and this project would have been a creative saving grace, had I not had so many other outlets at the same time. Little by little, I began to feel perpetually behind, and uploading pictures to my project began to feel more and more like a chore (it has been on my monthly goal list…since I started making monthly goals!). I have no regrets about the project–I am so glad that I did it, so glad that I finished this third year. But I don’t think I’ll continue, at least not immediately. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to something that has been part of my life for such a long time, but it makes it easier to know that that door is still open, should I ever want to walk back through it. In the meantime, a big thank you to Melissa for her inspiration and to all of you who read along on Flickr or read along here. Thank you for always making me feel that the things I share, the things that are dearest to me, are met with open eyes and ears. I love you guys.

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