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R+A Behind the Lens: Learning To Live In The Now

It feels good to get back to some more personal blogging today, after spending most of our time lately sharing all of our recent shoots!  While I would love to stick to a specific weekly schedule (such a personal post on Monday, session photos on Tuesday, etc), it’s really important to us to blog and deliver our client’s images as quickly as possible…which is why we’ve focused on getting all of those posted rather than other content these past couple of weeks!  Today I want to talk to you about something kind of important to me…

When we bought our new house here in Georgia in late December, we knew that we were going to immediately begin remodeling – and we got to work pretty quickly right after the holidays.  We tore everything down to the studs, celebrating the entire time with grand visions dancing through our heads.  We know that this is going to be a long term home for us, a place for the boys to grow up with rooms of their own, a place for us to share meals with loved ones and to flourish as a family.  We had the water shut off.  We drew out plans for our kitchen and bathroom.  We ripped them out and put the toilet and old moldy bathtub out in the front lawn like trophies on the third day of work.  Our neighbors raised their eyebrows.  We blasted Pandora.  We danced and sang and swung sledgehammers.  And we told ourselves that we’d definitely be moving in within a couple of months.

Our bedroom closet (iPhone photo taken yesterday):

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And today we find ourselves at the end of April, with a lot of basic repair work done and drywall up in most of the rooms, but not a lot of other visual progress.  What we thought was going to take a couple of months is now looking like it’s going to take nearly half the year, and that’s if we’re lucky and can get it done before our really busy wedding and portrait season begins.  This past weekend was a rare free one for us, so we spent as much time as possible at the house working….and I found myself drifting into a familiar pattern.  “Once we get the house finished and move in things will be better, and the boys will be happier.”  “Once we get the house finished we’ll start cooking healthier meals.”  “Once we get the house finished we’ll have BBQs and campfires in the backyard all the time.”  “Once we get the house finished everything will be perfect…”

Those are familiar notions to me because I have never been good at living in the “now.”  What I am good at is setting big goals, and accomplishing huge tasks, and at always looking forward to the next thing on the horizon – the next challenge.  First it was…once I finish college and start my life out in the real world things will be better.  And then, once we’re out of the military, we’ll be happier.  And then, once we get married and get pregnant, our lives will be complete.  And then, once we have a second baby I’ll be happy.  And then, once I can quit my corporate job and do photography full time everything will be perfect.  And then, once we can sell our old house and move everything will be better.  It’s always the next thing that I’ve got my eye on.  It’s almost never today. 

Here’s the thing though….I realized this weekend that when I open the door of our new home, I don’t see the bare and unpainted sheets of drywall that Rick hung just last week.  I don’t see the piles of tools and screws and light fixtures and clutter splayed across the plywood subfloor.  I don’t see the shell of a bathroom with no walls or toilet or sink or tub.  I don’t see the missing cabinets in the kitchen, or how the island without a countertop has morphed into a messy workbench.  And as I walked in I literally found myself visualizing how the house is going to look once it’s done.  I could practically feel the new wood floors under my feet, and see the freshly painted kitchen cabinets paired with the perfect backsplash.  I walked by the bathroom and all I could see was a gleaming tile shower and my new whirlpool tub.  I walked into the boy’s room and I could visualize the blue walls, with the art station on the left side and bunk beds on the right.  And I came to a realization…this is what I always do!  When I wanted to leave my corporate job for full time photography, I could literally SEE what it was going to be like.  I could see it so clearly that I could feel what it was going to feel like, I could practically taste it.  I wanted it so bad that I got tunnel vision.

I stopped trying to enjoy and experience my everyday, because I was too focused on my someday.

It always feels like once we do “this” or “that” we’ll be happy, and we’ll finally be able to slow down and enjoy life more…but as soon as we accomplish one goal we immediately set our sights higher…and these days sometimes I hold my two boys in my arms and I almost can’t remember when it was that they got so big or smart or funny.  I want to live in the “now,” to enjoy and cherish every moment of this amazing life that we’ve built.  I really do.  And I’m getting better every day, but I’m not quite there yet….and one of my big goals for this year is to try to enjoy the moment more than I ever have before.  To stop thinking about what I need to be doing once I get to the studio for the day, or what major task needs to be completed this week, or what I might be missing on Facebook if I decide to go have a picnic with the boys on a Sunday afternoon.  I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us next, or how the house renovations go as we work through them, but this week I’m putting my effort into enjoying our house, and our business, and our family for what they are right now, in this very moment.  I hope you can find some time to do the same.  Love, A

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