There is no question about it: The teenage + young adult years are unique. I am grateful for the pictures and journals I have from my own youth – for sure. But oh, what I wouldn’t do to have more everyday kind of documentation … pictures of the little things that made up my world at that time.
I mentioned last week that I was planning to work with a handful of teenage girls on documenting their lives. It was so awesome to be with them, see their pictures, and watch as they felt the ease and enthusiasm of getting those memories into a Project Life album. Now Kayla’s in really good company with many of her own friends and peers documenting their everyday life as she has been doing this year. If you missed that post, go HERE.
Today I’d like to introduce you to another special young woman.
Meet Shelby (and a couple of her dearest friends).
It just so happens that cutie-patootie Shelby (left) has a knack for photography. She’s a Junior in high school and has undeniable talent with a camera (and otherwise). I wanted to share some of her pictures today, in hopes that you will:
A) share this with a teen or young person on the verge of becoming an adult, inspiring them to take more everyday pictures.
B) feel inspired + motivated yourself … no matter what your stage of life.
So I’m talking to you young people now. This is my message to you. Today. Right now.
First and foremost, I have a deep desire for you to understand your great worth and your awesomeness. I know that in this phase a life there is often confusion + frustration + hurt feelings + even insecurity on so many levels. Please, please, please know that you are God’s treasure. Literally. You are. Please make choices that reflect that. Life is too short to be unkind to others or experiment with things that will hurt you or be careless about your decisions.
Part of cultivating a good life is surrounding yourself with good friends. Good friends lift you up and motivate you to be a better version of yourself. Respect your parents. They’re not perfect, but they sure do love you and want what’s best for you. Work hard in school. Find out what you really care about and start chasing after that dream. Don’t let ANYone tell you you’re not good enough. You absolutely have more potential than you even realize.
You will make mistakes, but you know what? Tomorrow is a new day. Brush yourself off and do better. Be better. Stand up for what is good + right + true. Oh, and the next time someone makes you mad or sad? They actually don’t. No one makes you feel. Your attitude – no matter what it is – is 100% your choice. You have the gift of agency. Use it well. Choose happy.
Okay, so now let’s talk about documenting that life of yours. Sure, there are big moments in your life: First dance, first date, getting a drivers license, applying to college, getting a job, prom, concerts … stuff like that.
Now let’s fill in the gaps.
I want you to be more attentive to the everyday things that make up your life … instead of only focusing on the next “big” thing. Your life is so interesting, regardless if you think so right now or now. Mundane stuff like what you eat for dinner, what your messy room looks like, and your latest purchase? Those are definitely things you’ll appreciate having pictures of later. Trust me.
If you have a camera, you are undoubtedly snapping pictures of your friends and the goofy things you do together. I have plenty of pictures like this from my youth. I think that warrants a whole blog post.
But have you thought about taking pictures of your clothes, your dresser, inside your car, what you read, products you use everyday, your favorite technology must-haves, weekend adventures, weekend laziness, how you get to school, and other daily or weekly rituals and routines? Check out a few more pictures from Shelby, along with her own personal documentation.
Documenting life with pictures + words together? Powerful.
My closet/clothing. Ever since I can remember I have always had an incredible love for shopping and fashion. Almost every single item of clothing I buy is from the clearance rack. I’m getting 5 shirts for the price of one! I love mixing patterns and styling things together in new, fun ways.
My vanity. So I am a bit obsessed with jewelery, lotion, perfumes… all that girly stuff. I must keep a collection of it!
My scriptures. They are one of the most important things in my life. I couldn’t imagine not having them. It’s strangely comforting to know that they are always by the side of my bed, ready to be read, and ready to give me answers, peace, and guidance. I read them every night, but of course, I am nowhere near perfect and slip up on my routines. The days I go without reading them are just miserable. The lessons and stories embedded within the pages of this truthful testament of Christ bring the uttermost happiness into my life. I can’t even count how many times I found so many answers to my prayers and questions inside the scriptures, even at times without even asking the Lord first. Just another testimony to me that He knows who I am.
My sanctuary – also known as my bed. Yes, I do everything on this bed. Read my scriptures, write in my journal, do my homework, watch movies, talk with friends, make crafts, say my prayers, sleep, sleep, sleep, edit photos, and sadly enough, I have eaten meals on this bed. It’s sort of my “go-to” comfort place. To me there is nothing more comforting than this bed… definitely where most of my teenage years have been spent.
My ‘daily thought’ journal. Yes, I do write in this every day. Starting about 1 year and a couple of months ago I started writing in this little prayer journal once a day… it usually is something I learned that day, something I thought was funny, or something I strengthened my testimony on. I’ve only had it for a little over a year and I already enjoy looking back on the old mini entries. I was surprised just how wise I can be! haha!
My ‘Mr. Mine’ journal. Okay, I am totally lame that I do this, but about 6 months ago I started this journal to my future husband. I write about 1-2 times a month, and they are just simple entries to my husband about who I am, what I think about life, what I believe in, what I hope him to be, and what traditions and goals I went to start with my eternal family. I will give him this journal on our wedding day… not sure if he’ll enjoy it but at least I did!
Okay, so most of you don’t have a Mr. Mine journal. (Personally, I think that is just the coolest idea.) But did Shelby’s pictures get your wheels turning? Can you look around you today with a different perspective, and hopefully a camera in your hand? You don’t have to have a fancy camera to document your life. You just need some way – any way – to snap pictures of the world around you and capture the details that make up who you are. Cell phones can be great for that.
Go forth and cultivate a good life. And record it.
In doing so, you just may find yourself happier, healthier, and even more motivated in everything you do.
Just for you.
I created a list of Everyday Life Photo Ideas for Teens + Adults. Go on. Save it. Print it. Share it. But most of all – use it as a springboard to jump-start your resolve to take more everyday pictures.