I am really (super, duper!) excited about Goal #3 for 2013: to do Project Life. I started 2012 with a similar goal. But I didn’t get very far. That’s right. I set a goal and I didn’t achieve it. It’s okay. It happens all the time. When it’s a goal you really want to make happen, you simply try again.
But, when you try the same goal for a second or third time, it makes sense to try a different approach. To do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result has been called the definition of insanity. And since my word for 2013 is happy—not insanity—I’m going to try something different to make Project Life 2013 a reality this time around.
My first step has been to get very clear about why I want to do this. Even though Project Life is a simplified approach to scrapbooking, taking on a project of this scope (documenting your everyday life for an entire year) is no small undertaking. I proved that to be true right around the middle of February 2012. (I have Project Life pages to prove it. Lots of blank Project Life pages that were intended to be used for March, April, May…)
One thing I know for sure is that the desire to achieve a goal has to be much stronger than the obstacles that will (inevitably) get in the way of that goal. It has been said that “where there’s a will there’s a way.” I think the reverse is true as well. When the will to do something isn’t very strong, it can be really hard to find the way. So step one, for me, is to really dig deep and understand why I want to do this. What is this project really about for me?
My desire to do Project Life in 2013 grew and grew throughout 2012. Even though I didn’t finish Project Life in 2012…I still wanted to. I collected ideas via Pinterest and read blog posts from “real life” Project Lifers. But what really cemented my desire to do Project Life in 2013 was when my Dad passed. Ironically, this is also part of the reason why I didn’t follow through in 2012. It was too painful for me to absorb and document that my dad was slipping away…as it was happening. But I really wish I had…
His passing made me realize so many things. One of those revelations is that you just don’t know when you’ll no longer have the chance to do that important project you always think you’ll have time for later…like next month or next year or whenever. You have to make the time for the people and projects that are most important to you. You have to make time…now.
What’s more, when my Dad passed away I realized on a whole new level how important pictures really are to me. I always knew…but now I really know. I have experienced their importance in a whole new way. In the days right after my Dad died, my brother, sister and I spent hours sifting through boxes of old pictures and leafing through old photo albums. We printed recent digital photos off of our laptops. And we put our favorites all together on photo boards for his visitation.
That process was incredibly healing. I always thought those photo boards were for the people attending the visitation—so they could gain new insight into their friend’s or loved one’s life. And perhaps that is part of it. But I also believe it’s a secret form of therapy for the family members closest to the one who was lost. Putting those boards together is the only time I can remember, in my entire adult life, that my two siblings and I were together as just the three of us. No spouses, no kids…just the three original “Peterson kids” going through old photos, remembering our dad, and beginning to heal. What would we have done if there hadn’t been any photos?
We took the photo boards and the scrapbook I made for my Dad’s 70th birthday to his visitation. That 70th birthday scrapbook was called Your Life from A to Z. My brother and sister helped me pull that project together, just six years earlier. We came up with something meaningful in my dad’s life for each letter of the alphabet. We collected and scanned and printed old photos. We wrote stories for each letter of his life. We gathered photos and letters from my Dad’s family members including his two brothers and several of his cousins.
I took on the task of compiling my Dad’s “life” into a little six inch by six inch scrapbook.
As we looked through that scrapbook right after my dad passed away, my brother said to me “I’m really sorry I didn’t help more with this project. I didn’t understand at the time why you were doing it.”
“Now I get it,” he added.
Photos, stories, memories…they matter. More than I ever knew before. And that’s why I’m doing Project Life in 2013.
How about you? Are you doing Project Life in 2013? What’s your motivation for doing it? I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. In an upcoming post (or two) I’ll be sharing my new approach and how I’m getting myself organized for Project Life 2013. Check back soon.