Confessions of a Recovering Workaholic: Blogs for Photographers, Blogs for Artists

I have been a Workaholic most of my adult life. It started in college with a double major and 2 jobs and just never stopped. Part of it is in my nature, something I was born with, I am a Capricorn, a mountain goat, always pushing up and up. I also know I am a product of my western environment and our addition to productivity. It is all around us, coming from so many different directions. There is even this sense of guilt when we try and be still, to the point that for a very long time I didn’t know how to simply relax. I forgot how to enjoy something simple, to feel the joy in the little things in life. And you know what? Maybe they really are not the little things in life, maybe they really are the big things, the important things. Sitting and talking with each other, having coffee and listening to the stories, the laughter, the pain and the everyday life of those around us. Being with others, helping others, loving them really well. This is made up of all of those “little things”. But us productivity addicts tend to put those things below the work, below accomplishing things, and building things.

 

Enter Motherhood...

 Children make you slow down in this way. On so many other levels they make you much busier than you have ever been, but in this way, they slow things down. They are learning the most basic of things, and you have to be in that moment with them. I am no longer able to work constantly the way I used to; no longer able to make work the main priority in my life. Gone are the days I could put in 16 hours a day on a regular basis. Part of it is that I have a new very important job helping to shape another human being. The rest of it is that I know that eventually, you burn out, it is not a sustainable way to live. If you think about it, it ends up not being the most productive option if you get burnt out and are not producing your best work anymore anyway.

 

My Progress...

I have come a long way in the last 3 years since my daughter was born, and since we moved from the coasts to the south where there is a different pace of life. The addiction is still there in many ways. It is something I fight almost every day. When Fiona wants me to watch her jump on one foot over and over again, and I struggle not to pick up my phone and check my email. I really do. But other times I am actually able to sit and play with Playdough and actually enjoy it. I have found some things that we can do together that don't make me crazy. Stay tuned for part two of Confessions of a Recovering Work-A-Holic where I will tell you about some of these activities if you are struggling with the same thing!

 

Just a few years ago I couldn't even sit on a beach without thinking what is the point of this, and now I cherish the few moments I can relax watching my daughter dig in the sand. So only God knows the progress I will make in a few more years. Maybe I will even leave my phone at home sometimes...maybe. ;)

 

Look at that face! Play with me mommy she says. Well I suppose work can wait...

 

 

Edited with Hot Air Balloon from the Americana Lightroom Presets Collection

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A Different Way Of Life: For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's 52 Week Project

For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's 52 Week Project by Meghan Aileen

Week 10: A Different Way Of Life

 

I spent the week on gorgeous Seabrook Island in South Carolina. The serene beaches and spanish moss covered trees are just breathtaking. I am so grateful to be able to take time and relax on this vacation. It was the first time since Fiona was born 3 years ago that I felt like I could relax on a vacation. She is now at an age where I don't have to worry about her falling down the stairs, choking on small objects or eating sand. I also discovered the beauty of multiple children being around at different ages. There were 3 older kids there with us, between 8-11 years old. They played with her, watched her for me, and she was just happy to sit in their presence and watch them. Amazing. I sat in a chair on the beach, I relaxed with my coffee in the morning in the screened porch, these small things I will never take for granted again.

There was also 4 other adult women, mothers, in the house as well. Between the older children and the other mothers, I got a little taste of what the old village life must have been like. Something I wish we had more of these days. I also got a tiny glimpse of how big families work. I never understood how other parents did it, how they had 3-6 children when I can barely handle just one. But I see now how the dynamic changes in the house, how the olders help out with the littles. They are distracted, busy, they play with each other instead of only playing with mommy. I see the brilliance of God's design here with families. I see the amazing benefit of community as well and how we are made to be around each other, to help each other, to love each other.week 10

 

This week's image is one I took on the beach while we were waiting for the dolphins to come up and feed. It represents the bond of women to me, of community, of motherhood. It reminds me of peacefulness and space, of simple pleasures that are so important to take time for. It makes me grateful for the women in my family and around me in my community. I edited it to be in a warm black and white, to have a vintage feel so I could represent a little of an ancient way of life.

Edited with Editorial B&W from the In Vogue Photoshop Actions Collection

Edited with Tea Stain Texture from the Nostalgia Textures Overlay Collection

 

We lived in a subdivision right in town until April of this year. I could not take a picture of my child outdoors without another house in the background. I could see 9 houses from my back deck. Yet I had one friend in the neighborhood. Just one. My theory is that when people are always surrounded by noise, and crowds, marketing and billboards, they are protective of their space. They are constantly bombarded by someone or something and it can be exhausting. Especially when they are all people you don't know or connect with on some level, or things you don't need or care about. You have to put on a face, be "on" and even presentable. At least that is what our social rules say. You have to defend yourself and your hard earned money from the constant bombardment of consumerism.

Living out in the country now, I have over 7 acres of woods and no neighbors on one side for a few miles. I find myself reaching out to those in my community more, and they reach out to me as well. When I have more space of my own, I reach to connect, I long for it more. Our personal space is a relief in itself for our family, our own private peace, and where we can detox from the overwhelming world around us of advertising and crowds.This is just how I feel about my situation. I know there are a lot of situations where people live close to each other, or live in a city and are content and close to those around them and I think that is just wonderful. I hope that we can see more of that instead of less as time goes by because we are quickly filling up all the space we have left with people and houses! I think the internet is part of this as well, we connect on Facebook, or texting or via email. It is easier, faster, takes less investment, time and energy of which we are all short on.

Maybe take the time this week to reach out to a neighbor, to just say hello if you normally just walk by with your head down. Or to invite them for a coffee if you normally just say hello and quick pleasantries. You never know what you might find out about someone, what their story can help you learn or inspire in you. We are designed to live, love and learn from each other. We are designed to help one another and connect. We are made to love each other and be salt and light to the world.

xoxo Meghan Aileen