There are 2 kinds of people in the world: those who talk about doing things, and those who actually do the things. My biggest fear is being one of the talkers who never quite gets around to the doing.
For a while now, my friend Angie and I have talked about doing some kind of joint project together. We weren’t sure exactly what form that project would take, but we knew we wanted to collaborate on something that would invite people into the conversations we have on the regular.
We are both writers and moms who met online through our blogs. We live in different cities (me: Baltimore, her: Charleston). We have different lives, but there are many parallels. We have many of the same challenges and are striving for many of the same life goals. In the same day, we might be pondering what it is to live an authentic life and figuring out how to make a Pokemon costume from a hoodie and a few scraps of felt. (Pro tip: glue gun!)
Over the years, we’ve had many, many conversations over email, phone, and Skype about the challenges of doing meaningful work without selling our souls, of juggling motherhood and career ambitions, and of carving out time for ourselves and our writing amidst our busy lives, which include husbands who work long hours and/or travel frequently, maintaining a (moderately clean and organized) household, and trying to raise healthy, happy, well-adjusted children who sometimes get pinkeye or have complicated school assignments at inopportune times.
When your life is like ours, it’s tempting to think, “When I have time, I will start this project I’ve been wanting to do.” Or, “Once summer vacation is over/my youngest starts kindergarten/I finally organize all the closets, then I will focus on what I want to do.” But guess what? My youngest DID start kindergarten and I STILL have not organized all the closets and who knows if I EVER will?! The point is, you can’t wait for the perfect time to do anything in life, you just have to make the time and start doing it.
So we did. We started what we’re calling the Abby + Angie Project, which is currently an Instagram diary of sorts about our conscious attempts to capture the good moments amidst our busy/messy/glorious daily grind. We even have a hashtag: #MoreGoodLessGrind. Get it?
There’s lots of talk these days about gratitude and being mindful, and how important it is to recognize the things you’re thankful for and truly be present in your life. I agree, but in my opinion it can all get a little finger-waggy, a little guilt-inducing, one more thing we SHOULD be doing, or that we’re doing wrong.
How many times has someone told you — usually a random stranger in the grocery store — that you should be grateful for your children and this time in your life, becauseitallgoessofast?! I tell those people to come over to our house between the hours of 4-7pm, and then we’ll talk.
What I love about our Instagram project is that Angie and I are aiming to be real and honest and authentic, but at the same time keeping the joy and sense of humor and appreciation for visual details that I think we both share. We’re not trying to showcase perfect lives that make others envious, we’re trying to capture actual moments when we thought, “There. That. Here’s a moment when I stopped and noticed and appreciated my life just the way it is.”
Here are a couple examples from our Instagram page, @abbyandangieproject. (BTW, I understand that many people break out in hives at the thought of yet another social media platform, but the beauty of Instagram is that you can just click and gawk at all the pretty pictures, no participation required.)
The upside of not getting out much is that you appreciate it so much more when you finally do. -Abby
One of my favorite quotes is this one from French author Albert Camus:
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
I think this photo, snapped one evening when I spotted my son and his friends dancing at the top of a hill, captures that perfectly, don’t you?
-Abby (college French major, woot woot!)
So this is me, choosing to be the type of person who’s walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
Choosing to start the project and do the thing even if the timing isn’t perfect. (When is it ever?)
Choosing to look for the good in the midst of the messes and stresses.
Choosing to capture, share, and remember the small, good moments in this big, often overwhelming project called life.
I would love it if you joined us. Give a “like,” share a link, share your own photo and hashtag it #MoreGoodLessGrind. Let’s do this!