I'm sure I'm not the only one that can get stuck in a nostalgic moment. All it really takes is a ride in the car alone, a sweet smell that reminds me of North Carolina summers (like honeysuckle and campfires) or a big pile of photographs. Some of these photographs are memories that aren't mine. They are of my grandparents and my parents. They still seem magical. They are filled with so many stories and people I never knew, but somehow they tell my story too.
My family documented our history pretty well in photographs. I can see images of me in my mom's belly up until my college years and beyond. I'm grateful to have this form of documentation. Remembering the past brings both great joy and a flood of tears. I have always considered my childhood and the majority of my teenage years to be very satisfying. My life has been filled with SO many people who love me and support me. I have lifelong friends that I've survived the miserable awkward years with and the handful of really stupid fights. Now that I live so far apart from many of them, reminiscing on these memories makes me happy. Thankfully, I am still making wonderful new memories with many of these friends. The ones I don't see I still appreciate and those glimpses of photographs remind me that I'm glad these people stepped into my life, even if it was just for a moment.
I am a lucky lady. I had a past that I like to remember. People I love deeply may be missing from these new photographs, but sometimes they pop up in expressions of family members or even in my own eyes. So, sometimes a photograph is just a look in the mirror (or even a look down at my toes, which I've been told resemble my mema Robbins :) ). I've definitely caught my dad staring back at me and I have no doubt that my mema Evans' spunk is a part of who I am. And boy do I have a sense of adventure like my papa.
As I poured out all of these photographs upon the floor I felt three things: happiness, sadness, and a tad bit of anxiety. As many know, lately I've been trying declutter my life. I've been carrying around an enormously heavy bin filled to the max with photographs and photo albums (not to mention a whole other bin that was filled with photo work from college). I clearly LOVE them, or at least what they represent. So, why in this world would I want to declutter them?!?! A few years ago I wouldn't have been at this point. The thought of scanning every single image felt extremely time consuming. Time in itself is valuable. I was not ready for such a large task. The other part of it is the fear of technology failing. Let's face it: hard drives crash and sometimes people make mistakes (like that time a guy at a particular company deleted part of my hard drive). Thinking about the possibility of no longer having a physical copy of these images is scary.
I attempted to use iPhone apps as a scanning source, but the outcome was never quite what I hoped for. It wasn't a big surprise, but I wanted to give it a shot before I threw any money out there. The scanner that I really wanted was recommended by The Minimalists. When they were purging their personal items one of them had a scanning party. I wanted this item really badly, but I pushed it off because it was a little pricey. After a very dry winter and very little rain in 2018, my urgency felt a little bit more escalated than normal. I have been thinking a lot lately about what might happen if a fire destroyed our house. It's not like it's impossible, because it's happened in this town before. The predictions were pretty high that there could have been fires in our surrounding area. It's kind of a horrible thought. I’d be fine with losing most of my possessions, but my photographs would be a hard loss to cope with.
I gave into the scanner. It was a very good investment! I have been so pleased with the quality of the scanner. All of my photographs look great! I am over half way through scanning every single image that I have. It's only taken me a few weeks. Isn't that insane?!?! They take about 4 seconds an image, which I don't think is that bad at all.
The following step would be to make sure all of these images are properly backed up, like a bajillion times. Seriously, backing up important stuff is so crucial. I've learned the hard way with this one. IT SUCKS! I'm currently using Carbonite as one source of backup. This is something I pay for yearly. What I like about Carbonite is that it is constantly saving your items, so if I make a change on one it updates that automatically. It backs up my internal and external hard drive (as long as it's plugged in). I've also used Snapfish as a basic backup. You can at least re-download the images if you happen to lose any. It's not my number one source, but the more you backup, the better. I'm considering using Dropbox or something similar to use as a third backup. It's well worth my time to know that these items are not going to all of a sudden vanish from the earth. Until I get them backed up, I will keep the physical images for a little bit longer. Just tossing them right away feels a little risky.
The next time I move I will have at least several bins less to deal with or store way. Now I can actually utilize these past photographs and view them more often without having to go dig in a gigantic bin that contains thousands of images. Whoo hoo! It has taken several years to get to this point of being less attached to possessions. Man, it sure feels good! I have less stuff, but I'm still carrying along those sweet, sweet memories!