Friday, April 21, 2017

Inspiration to be your best self

October 1985 on our big family trip to California - I'd just turned 15





I had the best time this week, and it was all from a visit down memory lane.  I was trying to fit more photos into an album that had less slots.  These (printed, old-style on paper) photos were from my childhood, teen years, some of my husband’s before I knew him and then ones of us together.  The span was from early 1970s up until the 2000s!

I don’t like to be swamped with tons of photos, and would rather prune out the unflattering, boring, similar and strange ones to be left with the cream of the crop.  That way I have one photo album that is fun and light to look through, instead of multiple albums that have every photo I have ever taken along with reminders of what colours and hairstyles look terrible on me...  With electronic photos I don’t print them out, so this album is a fun blast from the past to view every so often.

I thinned them out by taking every single photo out and putting them into groups of era for a start.  I then put them into the album starting with the earliest ones, after going through each pile and seeing which photos I really wanted to keep.  The criteria was that I had to have happy and/or nostalgic thoughts when I saw them.

There were a few photos which were fine to look at, but I remembered weirdness from that day or the story behind it that wasn’t so good (nothing terrible), so I let them go.   Thankfully my husband was amenable to doing a few piles himself, discarding unflattering or dull photos.  Such fun, he probably thought – not!

Jessica helping me sort photos


It was a fantastic feeling having all the ‘keep’ photos put away, with pages to spare might I add, and do you know what the cool thing about selecting only the brightest and best photos is?  Seeing them en masse is very motivating and inspiring to keep going, keep doing better, don’t settle for mediocrity and a dull life!  It’s like an edited highlights reel that shows you that Life Is indeed Good.

And having that gratitude and good feeling has continued on and I still feel it right now.  Partly that good feeling is decluttering and partly it is seeing that I don’t have to keep the not-quite-good-enough stuff, whether it is photos, old habits, feelings or possessions.

Over the past few weeks we have been having a big sort of our home as we prepare it for sale.  We’ve been here 5.5 years, which is a short-ish time to be in a home, and considering I am constantly editing my belongings (and my husband isn’t a clutter-magnet like I am, so he doesn’t have to), we still got rid of quite a bit of stuff.

Then, we had our home photographed this week by a professional photographer for our real estate listing so we got to see how she staged it with our belongings, moving things around and showing us how much better something looked with a little tweak.  Some of it was for the photos too, certain ways of doing things make for a good photo.  She also brought a few cushions and throw rugs in bright colours and they really made our neutral home zing, so that was a fun exercise too.

I would highly recommend selling your home to get motivated to make it look like a show-home (which is one of my home goals, call me sad!).  Our garden has never looked better either, thanks to a day-long team effort of my husband and I to tidy it up.  Not just normal-tidy, but every-nook-and-cranny tidy.  I can’t wait to share the photos when we see them.

I love seeing home tours on blogs, but I never got organised to have every room looking perfect at once but now I will be able to have a home tour, just as we are leaving!

So, have I encouraged you to go through your photos yet?  To create your own source of nostalgic fun and inspiration?  It doesn’t matter if you were skinnier, younger, and better looking back then, you can still be your best self now and sometimes it all starts with a motivating photo.

A few of those for me made me think “Yes, I am still her, I am still that girl inside” and I added them to my mental bank of inspiration for can’t-be-bothered days or eat-everything days.  There’s nothing like creating your own ray of sunshine to keep in your pocket and carry around with you :)

Have a wonderful week everyone and let me know if you’re going to dig out all your photos this weekend!

Fiona

PS.  Look, just look what arrived yesterday!  A big box of my books all the way from the US to New Zealand.  So exciting!  I have all my paperbacks in stock now, so if you live in New Zealand or Australia, I can send you a signed copy of any of my books.  I’ll get some postage rates organised and put a page up on my blog, but in the meantime if you are interested, please email me:  fiona at howtobechic dot com and let me know which title(s) you would like and your postal address, and I’ll let you know how much it will be.

And if you live outside of Australasia, I am still happy to send out signed copies, it's just that the postage could get a little expensive.  Again, email me with where you live and what you title(s) you are interested in if this appeals, and I can put a price together for you. Basically it would be the normal cost of the book, and whatever NZ Post quotes me for postage.


 

If you'd like to see details of each book and read inside, you can view them at Amazon here.

24 comments:

  1. Oh you are such a pretty 15 year old, Fiona!
    And you crack me up when you wrote, "Such fun, he probably thought – not!" LOL...
    He is such a good sport to join in!
    Last year, I chose only the fantastic photos of my numerous holidays around the world as well as old photos of my 2 beautiful nieces when they were little as well as my family and I made it into a project, by buying huge poster frames (from Ikea and ordering from Amazon) and made collages of them. I decorated them around my otherwise bare home and looking at them made me smile and grateful for all the priceless memories I have had with everyone as well, as lovely reminders of that indeed, I am living a well lived, adventurous life. (It's truly great reminders when I am not having such a fine day.)
    Congratulations on having all your paperbacks in stock. That is certainly a celebrations! I am so happy at your success.
    And I totally agree with you that decluttering does create good feelings and may I add, a sense of clarity. Thank you for sharing your transitional journey, Fiona.
    Looking forward to see photos of your "show room" home!

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    1. What a cool idea to decorate with your favourite travel photos in a big collage, Miss Princess!

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  2. Sorting photos is something I have been meaning to do for years, but it will be a very big task as I have not hundreds but thousands of them, going back to when our sons were children - before then I took transparencies (35mm) and they are stored somewhere in the loft, mouldering away. I have never put any in albums, so it would be a very big task to do this, but as you say, it's a worthwhile task and it would be a trip down memory lane. But what a shock it would be, seeming myself and husband, now old codgers, when were in our prime! Not sure I want to go there yet, but it's something I will consider! There are so many they are in several places in our home, in the spare room, in a cupboard in our study, in a large box in our wardrobe ... there is nowhere quite large enough for them all in one place, that is how many there are! Yes, Fiona, I need to whittle them down to a reasonable amount even though it might take days, not hours!
    It will be lovely to see your house photos when they are ready! Perhaps a few items to style your home for prospective buyers mightn't be a bad idea? If the photographer has styled your home, then prospective buyers might wonder where all the lovely cushions and throws have disappeared to. Of course, if they so much as ask you, you could always say - just a little white lie - that they are packed away, ready for the move. But some things which you might then be able to take with you when you move might provide a few splashes of colour in your otherwise neutral home, especially if you thought those items improved the total look of the place. And don't forget flowers, they really do bring a room to life (but not just plonked in a vase directly out of the supermarket cellophane). Just an idea, girl!
    Margaret P

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    1. Such a shame to have the photos in the loft where no-one can enjoy them! As an alternative to albums, I have seen photo boxes where you can place photos like file cards, and you could have one box per decade or something like that.

      When the photographer styled our home, she used 95% our own items, and brought a few bright cushions and throws. We went out yesterday and brought six cushions to style our own sofa since we loved how it looked. So it won't look too different to the professional photos!

      I also have a new boston fern, some flowers and a peace lily inside - no cellophane anywhere :)

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  3. But bad hair cuts, etc... can be part of the fun too. But I know what you mean about strange/unpleasant memories. I started journaling in November and there was an incident I completely forgot about until I re-read it. I don't want or need that memory so I literally cut the page out, ripped it up, and threw it away.

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    1. Yes, bad teen hair cuts are not so bad, but there were a few from a trip where my hair was so frizzy, unflattering pink top on etc - that one went!

      I'm totally with you on getting rid of bad vibes. Why would we hold onto them?

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  4. Yes, photos with eyes closed, or mouths open, are best tossed. They cost so much to develop that we kept everything then.
    But sometimes the bad is illuminating. I have a journal from preteen to mid-teen years and it is a litany of mean girls, strict parents (for no reason--I was a shy, goody-two-shoes with excellent grades) and a music teacher who sexually harassed me. I wrote about complaining to my parents, who just thought I was being lazy about music lessons. So to keep the teacher's hands off me, I recruited/bribed my little brother to sit in on my lessons. The teacher was quite unhappy but couldn't do anything about it. I reread the whole thing when my kid was having troubles with bullies, and it made me more attuned to the things that my kid was telling me without telling me--so much of the communication is too uncomfortable for a kid to say straight out.
    Separately, when my parents died, we went through the family photos to make a slide show to play during the wake. All my siblings got together to look through them, and we actually had a great time, reminiscing. It drew us even closer together. The magic of old photos.

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    1. Yes! Photos cost a lot, both for film and developing, so we were careful not to waste a photo and it could therefore be hard to throw one away.

      What an awful experience you had with your music teacher, and what a savvy girl you were to take your brother with you.

      I agree, photos do bring you together with family and there is a magic about them :)

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  5. You were such a cute 15 year old! I love looking at old photos, but I don't have that many in my home. I edited them years ago and don't miss the ones I let go, but cherish the ones I kept. They always make me smile.

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    1. Exactly the outcome I was going for, Stephanie. Thank you :)

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  6. I really might organize my photos this weekend! Thank you! When I look back at old photos I always think man, I looked really pretty, thin etc. when at the time I felt bad about myself and wonder now why. I don't do that anymore though. I feel good in my skin. Funny how things change when you get older. Can't wait to see your house! Isn't it funny how we always make it look good for the next people? My last house never looked better until the day we put it up for rent lol.

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    1. Yay, Carla! Have fun with your photos. Yes, I can't wait to share our house photos too :)

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  7. I agree, Fiona, about not keeping photos or journals/mementos that do not make me feel anything less than joyous. Anything that reminds me of a frienemy (or two, and who doesn't have one of those?), a coworker who has always been mildly unwelcoming, a stressful gathering, etc. go out the door. I want a home that is as serene as possible! Prior to my move last year, I have scanned most of mine and kept only creme de la creme. When I let go of all that baggage, my mind felt so much lighter!

    The topic of photos and selling a home also reminded me of a psychological idea of not displaying one's photographs while showing one's home to prospective buyers. This "removal of oneself" helps prospective buyers imagine living their unique lives in your home without images of you et al glaring back at them. Best wishes to you as you go through the process of home-selling, Fiona!

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    1. A serene home, lovely :)

      I used to have a few photos in stand-up frames (rather than on the wall), but I tired of dusting them and picking them up when they got knocked over, so I took all the photos out and put them in my album and donated the frames.

      I have heard about taking anything too personal away so that prospective buyers can imagine themselves living there too.

      Thank you for your kind wishes, Natalie :)

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  8. Fiona, you didn't change much since you've been 15 :).
    I've been thinking about sorting out photos for years but never had time to do this. Now I am happy that I didn't throw away the photos that I was unhappy about. Now when I look at my 20 years younger version I don't see much imperfections but think that I didn't appreciate myself enough, was always to strict in judging myself. There are occasional photos that I would get rid of but definitely no mass purging. With time passing they become more precious. I watched an interview with centenarians lately and one of them said "I have no regrets, I've got only beautiful memories" and I think she considers them beautiful not because they are curated but because they are part of her life.

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    1. Maria, it may sound like I threw out a lot of photos, but I just thinned them out :)

      I think no regrets, only beautiful memories is a wonderful way to be!

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  9. I love this post Fiona! I've got hundreds (thousands maybe) of photos I need to organize. They've been sitting there for so many years, and so have the empty photo albums awaiting them ;) I just can't bring myself to do it, the thought of it is overwhelming. I do have one completed album though, of my daughter from 0-1 year old, and that is the extent of it. I kind of dropped the ball after that. I've always wondered how scrapbookers do it, that would drive me insane. I can't even get the photos in the photo albums, much less decorate them! It's definitely not my thing :)

    The photos used to be semi-organized until my teen daughter started rifling through them. Now it's a horrific jumble.

    Hmm, she will be away at college this Fall, maybe I will make this one of my projects then. Maybe I can do like you did and enlist my husband. He's going to love that. No, he won't.

    D.

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    1. Oh no, D, you make it sound like a mountain to climb! Is there some way you can simplify the ordeal??? Maybe plan to halve the numbers to start with?

      I didn't plan to involve my husband, but once I started he'd look at the photos, so I handed him a small pile to sift through every so often. I brought them in front of the television because it's the kind of job I can half watch a programme and do something else at the same time.

      Good luck!

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  10. Oh, Fiona...you are reading my mind! I have photo albums filled with photos from 40 years of marriage...and now we are downsizing and moving to an apartment home and won't have the storage we have now. I have been saying for years that we need to do JUST what you are doing! Just this morning we got rid of some that were in frames that we are giving away, and I said we need to go through all of these. We have pages of wedding photos of people who have been divorced for years ! Going to use your criteria and only keep the photos we LOVE, then organize them in a way that we can enjoy them. Not sure yet how that will be, but THANK YOU for the inspiration ! Good luck in selling your home...we sold ours to a neighbor and did not even have a for sale sign out !!! Moving is stressful and fun at the same time. Good luck and blessings to you as you move forward in your life !

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    1. Hi Ann, isn't it always the case that a deadline moves us along? I only came across all these loose photos when we were cleaning out to move, and then they sat on the album for months. Our impending open homes have motivated all sorts of action :)

      Good luck with your photo sorting - wish those divorced couples well and send them on their way (to the bin) - you don't want that kind of energy coming with you to your brand new life!

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  11. Fiona, I inherited my parents' photos and there are some of people I don't even know! Time to start weeding out. Thanks for the great post. I know what I'll be doing this weekend!
    Kathy B.

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    1. Yay, Kathy, have fun! Imagine how good you'll feel looking at a streamlined album with good memories of your parents when you're done :)

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  12. My husband and I have recently been decluttering, as well as having had a lot of work done on the outside of our house ... landscaping, siding, painting, adding a screened porch, outdoor kitchen, and fire pit. People keep asking if we're getting ready to sell our house and move. My answer is "absolutely not! We want to live in the house we want, not wait till we're trying to sell it to turn it into the house we want." (That's definitely not meant as a criticism by the way!) But I think as with food, weight, money, and so many things, it's so important to take steps now toward the life we want. I'm about 6 days into Thirty Slim Days - I'm taking more than one day per chapter because it's really giving me some action plans for other areas as well as food and weight - and it's really just what I needed to be reading, just when I'm ready to read it. Thank you!

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    1. I so agree with you Marcia, and this experience of making our home lovely to sell has inspired both of us to do the same thing with future homes so that we can enjoy them - to have a wish-list we can tick off, do regular maintenance so it always looks good etc.

      We were so busy working in our business that we didn't get much time at home together to do those sorts of things, but now we are planning a different kind of life, we are excited to look forward to making our home a place we love to be (not that we don't love being here of course, I'd take our house with us to the area we are moving to if I could!)

      I'm so glad you are getting inspiration from Thirty Slim Days, thank you :)

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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