I miss it. I look back on old blog posts where I’ve shown you a little peek into my life. The people who surrounded me, the fun activities I was up to, or even where I was walking that day. I have plenty of blog posts that detail a day in my life or a weekend in my life in college. I love sharing my life on here. It’s my favorite thing to look back on.
But lately, like the last 8 months, I’ve been stuck, and I’ve cataloged that on the blog. There’s not much to “show” in my life. I’m not meeting new people. I haven’t gotten a new job or opportunity. In a lot of ways, it feels like flailing in the ocean and hoping someone will rescue me.
Documenting your life. I love it as an idea but in practice, I’m not so sure.
Collecting Small Moments to Remember
I honestly wish I spent more of my first year writing these “days in my life” posts. In my first year of college (and on this blog), I wrote about a bunch of different things: impostor syndrome, learning to give yourself grace, and decision making. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much of my first year. I remember the loneliness, and from the few pictures I have, I can make out a few memories. My first Beach Retreat (which I would have loved to look back on!), an ice cream Just Dance party, watching Home Alone at 327 (a Christian guys’ house), my dad surprising me to visit. But not much else.
Looking back on all the memories, it’s so sad to think of the ones I’ve forgotten, the ones I don’t have photos to remind me of.
Documenting and Aestheticizing the Everyday
There is nothing wrong with trying to make everyday beautiful. The issue comes in when your everyday ALWAYS has to look beautiful instead of appreciating what it is. That’s what I loved looking back on. Yes, I was lonely and I struggled my first year of college, but none of the photos I have are edited. The photos on this website if I took them are unedited. Partly because I’m too lazy to add a brightness filter and other fancy gadgetry, and partly because that’s what I want to look back on. Not documenting the filer of life but the everyday – what it actually looked like.
The aestheticizing when documenting your life has made it hard for me to want to share this season of life on the internet. My life in New York City isn’t as pretty as my Charlottesville life. I don’t wake up to the sunrise as I once did. I don’t have a mostly messy free room. My room back home is a mix of my mom’s things from its time as her studio and my dad’s things from its time as his office. My room has all sorts of things that aren’t mine, and so I don’t feel as comfortable showing. It’s gotten better over time, but even now, it doesn’t feel fully my own.
I also don’t do as much as I used to. And on some level, I’m grateful. I no longer run around with my head cut off doing too much. My life in this season is much quieter. I mostly go to the same places. The grocery store. The library. My semi-regular walk. The laundry. There aren’t any big events that break up my life as there once was.
I did have a friend Karen come stay with me, and we did a lovely book crawl. She got this idea from what the sorority girls did at UVA, the bar crawl. Instead we did a book crawl to some lovely places in Brooklyn Heights, and it was quite delightful. We first hit up Books Are Magic and got bagels at Montague Bagels.
We wandered around and discovered the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Lady Liberty. We went to a used bookstore, and stumbled upon the lovely tree artwork. After that, we looked for a coffee shop and stumbled into Stumptown Coffee. I had a tumeric latte.
Then we found ourselves at Barnes and Noble, as they were having huge 40% off sale, and then wandered back to a bakery. We took our lovely cupcakes to the Promenade and ended our time in Brooklyn Heights.
I bought 3 books: One Hidden Stuff by Barbara Ras, Morning Prayer by Eve Grubin, and All in the Timing by David Ives. Two poets and one playwright. The used bookstore was Freebird Books & Goods.
Here’s a tiny piece of Unrequited by Eve Grubin, the first poem I read out of her book:
“The rabbi said, Soul knowledge
is an internal event. Open will.
Give up your want to get what
you wanted. Open
to what you sought without knowing it, to what
you wanted all along.”
A sign of a good poem is when it haunts you, and you either can’t make sense of it or it makes all the sense in the world so much so that it hurts.
There will probably be a season where I’ll return to documenting my life as much as I have in the past, but I hope that you will see it for all its messiness, for all its imperfection. We do not live life to live perfectly but we live because we are human and that’s what we were made for–to live into love and to love others.
I urge to accept the real beauty of your life for all its messiness, for the way it doesn’t clean up so easy. Because at some point, you might look back and find yourself wanting to inhabit that space the way you once did.
P.S. I feel like trees and their roots are a theme in my life.
How do you feel about documenting your life?
2 thoughts on “Documenting Your Life ft. a book crawl in NYC”
It’s important to document daily life, whether it’s interesting, fun, fascinating, boring, or messy. We need to be able to look back and see where God has brought us, to remember and thank Him.
Yes, especially that last part. To see where God has brought us, so we can thank Him!