Two years ago I asked a dear friend of mine, who is a photographer, to capture my family on a typical weeknight. We were two working parents with an 18 month old and a 3 year old who spent 50 hours a week at daycare.
In my opinion we were the typical middle class American family.
We got home at 5/5:30pm while it was still dark. Let the dog out. Made a quick dinner, then got the kids ready for bed.
Maybe my husband and I would get a minute to say hi to each other or even ask “How was your day”, but there was never enough time for a response.
I wanted to capture these moments because I knew they wouldn’t last forever. I knew that I’d forget what life was like when everything was so hectic and crazy. The nights when I’d go to bed praying to get a full night’s sleep for once.
In the moment it doesn’t seem possible that you’d ever forget, but those pictures just popped up on my memories the other day.
Yup, I’d forgotten so much of what that time in our life was like. As I rewatched the video she created for us, tears were streaming down my face and I was so grateful to have those pictures.
The days are long and the years are short.
This isn’t just a simple little saying. It’s a truth.
This was our life and the lives of the other parents I’d see at daycare.
We’d pass each other in the hallway while our child was being held by someone else screaming for us to come back and just share a look of “I get you.”
We’d wonder if our paychecks would cover daycare costs, groceries, and the mortgage this month.
We may not have spoken any words, but we understood each other.
This was real life and it was not the life I wanted anymore.
I was tired of picking my kids up from extended care in the dark. I wanted a different life, but this was the life I was living at the time and I wanted to remember.
So now I work from home, and I get to be pick my kids up from school at 3pm. Our life is still chaotic and messy, but I feel so much better about it because it’s on my time.
I discovered what I valued in life, and that was picking my kids up at 3pm.
This may not be the value for you, and that’s ok too. This life is not about comparing your life with someone else’s. It’s about living life the way that feels best for you, and knowing that what feels right now might change in the future.
So if you had all the time in the world what would do?
Would you work longer hours?
Would you spend more time watching TV?
If given the opportunity really think about what you would do with your time.
Would you cook more?
Would you take more vacations?
Would you sleep more?
Maybe read more books?
Go to the movies?
Whatever you would do, the first thing that comes to your mind is your priority. It shows you what you value.
We demonstrate our true values (whether we went to admit it or not) by what we do with our time and what we spend our money on.
How are you spending your time now? Are these your true priorities?
How does it make feel when you look at how you are spending your time? Do you feel good? Or does it give you an icky sinking feeling in your stomach?
If you get the icky feeling, it’s time to start shifting. To start really looking at how you are spending your time and how you can pivot and spend time doing the things you want to do. Those things that make you feel good.
Time doesn’t stop for us, it keeps moving forward.
Just like those pictures I had taken two years ago. I’ll never get that time back, but I’m so glad I have those memories!!
What is it you wish you would spend more time on.
More importantly what is keeping you from that thing you desire?
Here is a snap shot of just a few of the photos from that documentary photo shoot.