The Ultimate in Practicing “Forward”
A few posts ago, I mentioned that I wanted to share with you a great — and difficult — opportunity that presented itself which allowed me to work a bit deeper with my word for the year. As promised, here is that story.
As many of you know, I’ve been working on a 365 project since last April. I’ve been focusing on practicing (my one little word for 2012) my photography by shooting every day, and I’m oh-so-very-close to the finish line of this milestone journey. And while I may not feel totally inspired each and every day, I have been consistently shooting and diligently marking each day with a photograph from one of my Polaroid cameras or my digital SLR. A few Fridays ago, I was running fast and furious — I had my pre-op visit with my surgeon, multiple meetings with students, errands to run, Parker to drop off at the dog-sitter’s house, and packing to do as Tony and I were leaving the next morning to head to Nashville to meet up with some dear friends. At around 8:15pm, as I was sitting at my computer checking-in for our flights, it dawned on me that I hadn’t taken a photo yet that day and that I needed to take care of that. A little while later, Tony got home from a play at the high school where he teaches and I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner yet (hello after 9pm!). So I talked with him, heated up some leftovers, and eventually finished packing. The next morning arrived, we had some coffee while getting our remaining items together, I grabbed some film from out of the refrigerator, and off to Omaha we drove to catch our plane. After making our connection in Chicago and mid-flight to Nashville, a wave of awareness and an immediate sinking feeling washed over me. I DIDN’T SHOOT A PHOTO THE DAY BEFORE.
I felt horrible. Sick to my stomach. Tony was asleep in the seat next to me and I desperately wanted to wake him up so I could tell him that I didn’t take a photo the day before. I realized that was selfish of me and that there was nothing he could do about it, so I let him sleep. But I so wanted to scream as loud as I could that I DIDN’T SHOOT A PHOTO THE DAY BEFORE. I was that upset. I
wanted needed to tell somebody. I wanted needed someone to “talk me down off the ledge.” I was beside myself that I had come this far in the project, that I had only 45 days left to cross the finish line, and I had f*cked up. I was so mad at myself. I felt so stupid. HOW COULD I FORGET? It wasn’t even like I felt uninspired or bored. It wasn’t like I just didn’t feel like shooting something. It was simply that I forgot. It was the mere fault of being over-scheduled, over-full, and maxed out for the day, that it slipped my mind in the midst of all the other details. Not shooting a photo was a result of me simply being human.
Now I realize that this is not the catastrophic problem that I was feeling it was. I totally get that the world was going to keep on spinning, and that in the grand scheme of life, this was not that big of a deal. And I know that most people wouldn’t even really care. But I care. This 365 project matters to me, and I felt incredibly angry with myself. I felt such a sense of disappointment. I felt like I blew it.
And then I had to shake it off. I was not going to quit, even though the urge to do so might have been strong given the ways in which I felt I had blown it. I’m betting that this is what happens to many people who don’t complete a 365 project — one day causes a hiccup, a missed photo, and the feelings of f*cking it up makes people throw in the towel. But I chose to accept that this is what happened. I didn’t shoot a photograph on day 320/365. And while that was a total bummer, I had to pick up my camera on day 321/365 and move FORWARD. I had to dust myself off and keep going. I had to put one foot in front of the other, and keep doing the work. The Universe gave me a beautiful, if not painful, opportunity to practice my one little word for the year. And I’m grateful for it.
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