Taking Time Off

January 1, 2009, the birthday of The Daily Digi, coincided with the beginning of my first attempt at Project 365. I had waited months to start (don’t know why I was convinced I had to start on January 1) and I was excited. And contrary to many things in my life, I actually finished what I started.

In 2009, I took one photo every day (well, I missed one, but we’ll let that slide). I loved the project so much that I did it again in 2010. And 2011. And 2012. And 2013. And 2014.

That’s SIX years of taking a photo every day and recording little slices of our life. (If you follow me on Facebook you can search through my albums for all of my photos).

And on January 1, 2015…I didn’t take a picture. And many days since then, my camera has stayed tucked away in my camera bag.

And I’m okay with that.

I am a big fan of Project 365. I have over 2000 days straight of photos. I love going through my albums, rereading captions, and remembering what life was like. I love encouraging others to try the project. And yet, this year, I knew I needed a break. Our family was/is going through a lot of changes in our life and schedule and P365 was starting to feel like a burden. Something I once loved had become one more thing I felt like I had to do. And that’s when I knew I needed a break.

I always tell people who are interested in scrapbooking and memory keeping that there should never be any guilt involved. There is no rule in life that says you have to take pictures, create scrapbooks, or document life in other ways. Is it a good idea to find some way to remember the ages and stages? Sure. I encourage lots of people to do just that. The Daily Digi was created in order to encourage those who want to remember. And yet, no one has to scrapbook. No one has to take a photo every day.

Three months into the year and I am still happy with my decision. I still take a lot of photos (some of which I share on my personal blog and on my photography blog), but some days fade into time without them being documented. I am sure I will pick the project up again at some point (and I won’t make myself wait until January 1!), but I will do it when I want to instead of because I feel like I have to.

All of this makes me think through some personal principles I have when it comes to memory keeping. These things filter through my mind when I decide to start or stop a project.

1) It should be fun. If there is a sense of dread in any project, I don’t do it.

2) There should be no guilt involved. As humans (and especially as mothers), we have enough things in life to keep the guilt-tank filled. I never tell myself I am “behind” on my scrapbooking or photography. You can’t be behind in something you don’t even have to do.

3) It should be inspiring. P365 wasn’t inspiring me anymore. It’s not the photos to blame, it’s the life circumstances, and yet I need to spend my few and precious spare minutes in my day doing something that inspires me. With the extra time I have had off from this project, I have spent more time reading and more time with my husband. Two really great and inspiring things!

These three principles look awfully familiar to a post I wrote in early 2014, except I was in a different stage in life!

What principles guide your memory keeping? Do you ever feel guilty or that you aren’t doing enough? Have you ever stopped a project by choice?