Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Memories and photographs, that’s what’s on my mind this morning. I was feeding the guinea pig and thinking back to Brownie, my childhood guinea pig. In my childhood scrapbook, which I looked through recently, I found one picture of myself and Brownie. He looked like I remember, and I was fairly fascinated by my 1970s outfit, but did I need this photo, or any photo, of Brownie to remember him? No, I don’t think so, yet my children have dozens of photos of Thorn, Blackberry, and Corky, the guinea pigs who have lived withÂ us. These photos are trapped on my computer, but we have them.
In fact, IÂ have hundreds of photos on my computer, perhaps thousands, and virtually haven’t printed one in the past 9 years. I might post them one or two on Facebook or my (now defunct) family blog, but that’s it. Otherwise, they’re tucked into organized folders and left to sit in cyberspace. I also own an electronic photo frame. I’ve had it forÂ more than 2 years.Â I bought three of them – one for my in-laws, one for my brother- and sister-in-law and one for myself. Ironically, I’m the only one who’s never used it.
I see parents at every event I go to filming or photographingÂ their darlings, recording their ever silliness / talent / participation in literally anything – playing at the park, skating, violin recitals, sporting events, sitting around reading. One of my friends actually photographed the first poop that her darling landed in the baby potty! Besides the fact that my children’s generation must be the most photographed in all history, what is going on? Parents aren’t really experiencing the event; they’re too worried about angle, light, framing, and that other cursed parent whose head keeps getting in the way. And what about the children? Are we telling them that their every move is so precious, so fabulous, so unique and special that it must be recorded for all time? Or are we telling them that their performance / activity /Â sporting event is so boring that we, the parent, can’t enjoy it unless we’re actually doing something else: that is, obsessing on the perfect shot?
Even though I sometimes feel like a neglectful parent, I’ve stopped taking my camera to most events.
Recently my husband has been working on transferring all our old video tapes from film cassettes to CDs. One thing I learned is that no snippet of film should go more than a minute and that no one wants to see the entire length of a child’s birthday party again, no matter how fun it was the first time. (Suddenly I’m reminded of watching a video tape with some proud grandparents – three full minutes of their precious going back and forth, back and forth in a swing. B-o-r-i-n-g.)
Also, why is it that every special and unique event is documented, but rarely is the mundane -Â making dinner, our co-workers and neighbors,Â working in the yard?Â I once read that if you judged people’s lives by their photo albums, you would think that life was one birthday party and holiday celebration after another. As it turns out, some of the older photos that have become the most valuable to me are the ones that show my house and my clutter before remodeling and before decluttering. I would not have intentionally photographed these less desirable things, but in contrast, today I find them interesting and affirming. Isn’t it ironic that one of the views I most value now is one that I was actually trying to avoid recording?
My memory is good; my life is rich and full. Documenting every aspect of it isn’t going to make it more fun, more full, or more enjoyable. One or two photos is plenty. After that, I’m going to let my mind do the remembering and keep my computer, drawers, and cabinets uncluttered.
Today’s Declutter Item
This are the kind of useful item I have the hardest time decluttering. The fact of the matter is that I have three of them and these days I rarely use one, so I am confident to add this on to the donation pile. I will decide on the fate of the other two as time goes by.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
I am grateful for all the wonderful items that once served me well but that I have now donated to charity over the last eighteen months. Sometimes in the past when I found something useful I would tend to stock up on more of them than I really needed. I am also grateful to have learned my lesson in this department and hope to never fall back into that behaviour in the future.