***Timing note: I wrote this last fall around the time of my 30th birthday. I came across the draft nearly a year later and decided to go ahead and share it. Gary and I are now expecting our first child and will be moving to a potentially permanent location next spring. Life can come at your fast :)***
My world is almost entirely digital and social media these days, as much as I hate to admit that. I have Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, Periscope, etc. On all of these platforms I see a snapshot of what people's lives look like. There are posts of "real life", there are posts of a "staged life" and there are posts that lie somewhere in-between. Pinterest boasts perfect floor plans and elaborately staged living rooms that make me look around at my own mismatched, hand-me-down living room set with disgust. Facebook is plastered with the kids of all of my friends I had growing up and some new friends I've met a long the way. Smiling back at me, seemingly mocking the fact that my life is not where I thought it would be up to this point.
Up until about age 25, I fully expected my family to be complete by the age of thirty, I expected to be living in a permanent home, and I expected to be "figured out" by that point.
The fact is, I am not. I feel almost more lost at this point in my life as I've ever felt before. But, I've learned to make peace with that and I've learned to find comfort in the unknown. This is partially due to re-finding my Faith, and this is partially due to a project I completed in the spring of 2016.
For years I had contemplated purchasing a high-end film scanner so that I could archive my family's history via digitizing 35 mm negatives. I wanted to be able to easily pass down our legacy without worrying about scanning individual photos and making copies. All of our images are in photo sleeves and removing them would be a giant pain. However, both my mother and my grandmother also kept their negatives. My grandmother liked this idea and funded the majority of the cost of my negative scanner. Because of this, I set to work on scanning hers first.
This was something of an overwhelming task. In the end, there were over 5,000 images scanned, and I have suspicion there are more out there yet. What I knew going into this project was that it was going to be time consuming, tedious, and a lot of fun. I didn't expect the life lesson I would receive in doing so.
As I scanned these many, many photos I came to realize a reoccurring theme. Life does not always look perfect. My grandparents didn't have a perfect living room set in the beginning, or elaborately decorated cakes, or perfectly pressed coordinating outfits in every group photo (not that there is anything wrong with any of those things). But, in all of the photos there was happiness. Joy. Love.
I only know my grandparent's house to be well-put together. I don't see the years it took to get to that point. I only see my house currently in the state that it is and often compare it to the final product of others. This isn't realistic. Some people arrive at a "put together" state much earlier in life than others. But, just because they seem to have it all figured out, doesn't mean that's how they feel either.
I don't have my complete family yet. I do, however, have a husband that loves me fiercely, a family that has my back, and two adorable fluff balls that always manage to cheer me up when I'm feeling down.
If you have the opportunity, study photos of your family's past. What makes you love them? I'm betting it's never the background scenery.
The photo below is me on my 30th birthday vacation to Colorado/Utah. I was also celebrating losing 23 lbs and being in the best shape of my life!