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Last year, I was inspired to start a 365 day gratitude journal on my Instagram account.
Part of my motivation was to push myself to really learn and appreciate Instagram.
I definitely accomplished that! I even met a new friend through Instagram who shares my passion for connecting and inspiring women, living simply, and following Jesus. She is the one who started the East Texas Moms Blog that I am a contributor for (launching January 12th!).
I also wanted to create a visual journal of one year in our life. How neat it would be to print a book at the end of the year with all our daily gratitude photos!
I wish I had stuck with the project for that reason alone. This year, I found a project that will accomplish that goal without the problem I had last year.
365 Days of Gratitude
Now, how could I mess that up? Surely there was something everyday to be thankful for!
Everyday, I would take photos of the small things that brightened up my day. The only difficulty was figuring out how to photograph intangible things. Thankful for a phone call with a friend. How do you photograph that?
Sometimes, I might be thankful for something completely ordinary…or ugly…and I was embarrassed to post such a photograph on Instagram. I didn’t want to uglify my feed!
This notion of being a curator of my Instagram feed seemed especially important as a photographer. I wanted to look like I know what I’m doing with a camera! Honestly, I wanted people to think “wow, she takes such beautiful photos. I should hire her.” That desire spilled into every image I shared. I wasn’t worried about impressing people with my life, but I did want a beautiful Instagram feed.
It wasn’t long before all these things added up and I began to notice the real reason why I quit my 365 gratitude project.
My Gratitude posts had become a point of vanity.
Instead of feeling grateful, I would think “what is good in my life today?” And share that. But I had to make sure the photo angle was just right. And I had to get the light just how I wanted it. Then I would spend a few minutes tweaking the photo in Afterlight. I might try a few Instagram filters. And then I had to write a half-way clever caption for my photo.
By the time I was done with all that, I would wait and see if anyone noticed. Did they LIKE my image? Any comments? Aren’t my kids adorable???
I felt like my Instagram feed was looking too much like a brag board.
I just looked back on it, and it seems like an ordinary collection of images of an ordinary family. Maybe it was all in my head? But I think that’s the problem.
What was going on in my head was not an increase in gratitude. It was an increase in vanity. I was concerned with appearances.
So I took some time off from Instagram.
Looking back, I wish I hadn’t. I really love the daily images of my family. It’s neat to see where we were and what we were doing.
This Year’s 365 Project
This year, I decided to attempt a different 365 Day project. This one is a little different because it doesn’t require daily sharing.
I downloaded the 1 Second Everyday App.
It’s simple. Take a brief video everyday. Select one second of that video and clip it. At the end of the year, I’ll have a video that is approximately 4 minutes long with “long photographs” of each day.
Since this is not a public thing, I’m taking video of whatever is going on and just letting it be real! Yes, I appeared in video with unwashed hair and no makeup. It’s only for a second! 🙂
There’s a space to record a caption, but there’s not time in the one second to explain what’s happening. No carefully selecting the witty words to accompany your photo.
So far, I’m just learning what to do with it, but I think my clips are going to get better and better. Oh, and if you miss a day, you can “time travel” and select a video from a different day. Many of our days are the same, so I’m cool with that. I would much rather have an out-of-place clip than a blank space on the calendar.
Have you ever tried a year-long project? How far did you get?
100 Days was my breaking point with the 365 Gratitude project.
Do you struggle with Instagram vanity?