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Adulting: Journaling With My Camera

My smart phone photos have become a journal for me. A visual journal.

As a wordsmith, I love to type, text and tango with words, but on memorable occasions, I set those aside and zoom in with my phone lens. Even noted author Eudora Welty stated, “a good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”

I take pictures of the major and minor events in life, but honestly, mostly the minor. I focus in on something pretty and yummy that I’m eating, a striking plant leaf, or the reflection in a water puddle. The cats I see on my running route also frequent my camera roll. And if you looked at my nature pictures, you’d frequently see snapshots of wild berries. (They fascinate me.)

I take comfort in perusing my photos and remembering the special (to me) moments.

An article on Well and Good, “Nostalgia Expert Says Reminiscing Can Provide Happiness (So Keep Reposting Those Old Photos),” offers four ways nostalgia can be calming. My favorite part of the article explains why I dive into my Google photos, aka “physical souvenirs of triumph,” so eagerly:

“It’s soothing to think about how much we’ve experienced, and how far we’ve come,” says Dr. Batcho. “Many of the nostalgic memories revived by such reminiscence put things in perspective. They remind us of what and who are most important to us and help us understand the meaning and purpose in our lives.”

Since very little, I’ve been enjoying the benefits Dr. Batcho describes. My Mom created photo albums, and I would lug them off the bookshelf (they were hefty) and look at images over and over. I even savored the black and white ones she had from her and my Dad’s childhoods. I learned my family’s history, pouring over images that helped me better understand my little place on this big planet.

I’ve never stopped appreciating photos: my own digital album is usually close at hand, and I keep cultivating and strolling a well-worn memory lane.

Why not consider joining me?

I encourage you to snap photos that are for your delight only. This is not about Instagram, Facebook, or other social media. This is about supplying future joy to yourself, especially for those times you are anxious. For when you are up at night and can’t sleep. For the long minutes in a waiting room or a barely moving line.

By taking the time to snap and savor our favorite photos, we are investing in a visual journal of encouragement for upcoming days. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” can morph beyond a phrase. It can offer our tired, frustrated, or stressed minds 1000 opportunities to be soothed, refreshed, and healed as we once again soak in the images that we treasure.


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