INTRODUCING PROJECT 26

Two months from today, I’ll turn 38, which means 26 months from today, I’ll turn 40.

A couple weeks ago, after I’d made my first few video tutorials for my Google Classrooms, I rewatched a few and thought to myself, my hands look skilled at the tasks they are performing. I shared this thought with my husband over dinner later that same day and, without missing even a fraction of a beat, he said, “I mean, you are almost 40.”

Gosh, I laughed so hard. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about turning 40, because I definitely have. And it wasn’t just the way he said it, though his delivery couldn’t have been more flawless. It was just, so matter-of-fact, and stated as if to say, of course your hands look skilled, you’ve been doing this for a while now.

In terms of a life lived, I’m older than I’ve ever been and as young as I’ll ever be again. We all are, at every moment. For me, I’m pretty glad to be the age I am. Sure, I had fun being a teenager, but goodness I don’t want to go back and be one again. College was an exceptional experience but nothing worth repeating, and even though my twenties were marked by my days of early motherhood which provoke a longing like no other, I wouldn’t trade the inner peace and self-sufficiency I found as a woman in my thirties for the precious, youthful ambition I had as girl in her twenties . (I would definitely go back and tell her to wear more sunscreen, though. Sheesh.)

My point is, getting older has also meant growing. We are so easy to celebrate this in children and so quick to forget that we never really stop growing as adults. As soon as a plant stops growing, it dies. The point is to keep adapting to the environment, changing with the seasons, reaching up high while rooting down deeply.

For me, this has always meant learning new things. I am an eternal student and I’m almost certain it’s why I became a teacher. I love to learn. Learning, really, is just another way of saying curious. I am curious, and so I explore.

I’ve been plagued by a lifelong fascination with most everything, which sometimes overwhelms me to the point of not pursuing my interests, but mostly keeps me inspired. Over the years, I’ve kept birthday lists and goals but I’ve been pretty private about them and I think that has contributed to a certain level of playing it small. I don’t really speak my big dreams out loud, and so therefore I’m not really ever held accountable to them.

Exceptions to this would be the many time I’ve attempted photo and/or video projects and failed miserably. You’d think I’d have learned by now that this is just not a strength of mine, this visual documentation. But I refuse to accept that! I’m leaning into and learning from the failure, and I’m embarking on a different kind of photo project.

26 has always been a special number to me, because one, it’s my birth day, and two, it’s just a lovely number. When I realized that there were 26 months until my 40th birthday, it hit me. I’m going to attempt 26 day-in-the-life photo diaries which will take place on the 26th of each month between now and my 40th birthday.

Currently, I’m about three hours into documenting the first of these and, so far, I am loving the process. I’ve been reading a lot about photography online and definitely see an improvement in my “framing” and in my ability to find and work with the light. I hope to see more improvement over the course of this challenge, but mostly, I am inspired to capture the little moments that make my everyday life mine.

By creating this record of my perspective as I transition from my thirties to my forties, I’m really curious to see if and how things shift. 26 months is just over two years. And, judging by the previous two years of my life, I’d be willing to wager that a lot will change, mostly unexpectedly, and the best I can do is keep my head up, my heart open, and, in this case, my camera in focus.

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