I ended 2020 with a post about my favourite photos of the year. In that post I mentioned that my photos are my “happiness thermometer”. If I have a lot of photos I love from the previous week, it means I enjoyed that week.
So I think the best way to kick off 2021 on my blog is by inspiring others to try a similar approach, which is a little deeper than only taking photos like crazy. Actualy, it’s about finding joy in our everyday life. Then, document it.
I love to document my life. I shoot random videos and put everything together to tell the story of my day on my daily vlogs. I take pictures of everything I think would be worth remembering and even keep some memorabilia from places I visit, especially from trips.
After years of doing that I realized I developed the skill to look at the world around me differently. I started seeing beauty more frequently.
It’s a cliché but it’s true: if we don’t stop and pay attention to what’s around us we miss the moment, we become blind to details and the time passes by quicker. Therefore, being alert to find new captures trained me to see all of those things I was ignoring before.
It’s not a matter of building beauty in our lives, it’s a matter of finding the beauty that is already there but we can’t see yet.
And that’s only the first outcome of this “viewing exercise”. After we are aware of the existing beauty we start to also create beauty. It’s like a snowball effect: the more we get used to joy, the more we want to create joy.
That was when I started to “edit” my reality. What I mean by that is I started to think ahead and make little adjustments to make the moments more beautiful. For example, I don’t get a piece of cake from the fridge and eat on my desk while I’m working on something. I set the table, I pour some coffee or tea, I invite my husband to sit and have some cake too.
Before anyone yells and says that it’s manipulation of reality I say: it’s not if it is your reality. If you live it, it’s real life. Period. For me it’s just a matter of how I want to live my life.
The more we document our lives, the more we want to live joyful moments and the more we live joyful moments, the more we have joy in documenting them. It becomes so natural!
And we don’t need to know how to take amazing photos to have amazing memories, we only have to find a way to keep them. Some people write in their journals everyday (I’d love to!) and I bet the effect is similar. Actually there are a lot of studies showing that gratitude is a powerful tool to live a more happy and fulfilled life and, for me, documenting my life with photos is like exercising gratitude. Stopping for a few minutes every week to organize my past week’s photos brings me so much joy and I feel grateful for little moments that I would easily forget if I would not revisit them by photos.
I believe 2020 was key to prove this point (to me) because even though it was a s****y year, when I sat down to look at my photos I found so many small yet sweet memories that made me change my mood instantly. Ok, 2020 will still be remembered as a s****y year, but not a total waste of 365 days. I did what I could. And I know you did what you could too. You only need to look back at the photos you took, I’m sure you’re going to smile a couple of times.
So my proposal to you is: take more photos this year. It’s not a matter of talent, it’s a matter of seeing. Start looking for beautiful things everyday and then start to create more of them. Start with one photo a day, set it as a challenge for you. If you really don’t like taking photos, write a sentence in your journal each day. Find that highlight moment and write it down so you can read it later and remember it.
Remember: in a world where everything seems to fall apart, where it’s easy to get caught by the Instagram feed thinking others are living a much more beautiful life than us, it’s worth looking for the beauty in our daily lives and reminding ourselves that, yes, there are a lot of joyful moments in our lives, we need to pay attention to them.
Joyful moments don’t have to last a few seconds, then can live forever and bring us the same joy over and over. We only need to remember them.