11.07.2011

documenting a different sort of life


 Every year around this time I begin to think of ways to creatively document my holiday. I have a tiny family consisting of one other person, my husband. Sure I have quite a large extended family with whom I am extremely close, but we don't always spend the holidays together. Since choosing a life sans offspring I have had to endure many tactless comments surrounding my memory keeping such as: "I would never spend so much time/and or money on something if I wasn't doing it for my family (meaning children), that just seems selfish." Or, "you mean you just scrapbook yourself." Or, "what are you going to do with all of those books when you die?" That's my favorite.

First, while I acknowledge that I am in the minority here, there are a handful of other scrapbookers who devote their energies to recording their own lives like Kelly Purkey and Shimelle. Definitely two ladies who inspire me a great deal. Although my life differs from theirs...they are both great travelers, and me, not so much. The fact remains, we are all currently living life minus kids-and yes, we scrapbook for ourselves and count our friends, husbands, pets- as family.

Second, I choose to spend my disposable income on paper that I will use as a tool to tell my very own stories which are just as valuable as any...maybe even more so since they come directly from me. I don't use the word selfish very much since that isn't a great concern of mine. I am troubling no one by spending my time or money on myself. Guilt is a non-existent part of my life-at least when it comes to scrapbooking.

Third, I am not the least bit concerned what will happen to my books when I die. They will probably end up in the garbage. I am inclined to believe that many of the books made so lovingly for children will no doubt suffer a similar fate. The thing is- we can't know who will care or not care for our books. Perhaps mine will find their way into the Smithsonian:) or  become a bit of an old timey storybook for a young girl also struggling with chub, glasses and a propensity for run-on sentences.  Maybe it will just turn to dust in an attic somewhere.

When it comes to documenting my life I intend to do it my way. I care about the process of telling my stories, incorporating my pictures and playing with paper. These activities fill me with joy and appreciation for life. That is why I do what I do. To acknowledge the deep and abiding gratitude I have for this life that I am leading RIGHT NOW. To pay attention to the people and things that surround me and the everyday miracles that abound.

What better reason is there than that?




15 comments:

listgirl said...

France I loved this post! My husband and I also chose not to have children and I'm very happy and live a full life. I also love scrapbooking and crafting and do it for myself. I don't understand the people who think that only children's lives are worth documenting? If anything, isn't it better for them to document their lives in their OWN words and not yours? Parents with children need to document their own lives! I believe the children will treasure those stories of the parents even more. Just my two cents. And you mentioned my two fave child-free scrapbook inspirations... I would also mention Amy Tan.

Diana said...

I LOVE THIS POST. Sorry to shout. But this post is AWESOME.
I am going to share it on my new facebook page. Yes, I have a facebook page for my new little business venture! I'm going to try to make a go to see if I can make scrapbooking worth my while... . Check me out! https://www.facebook.com/scrapbookingfromtheheart

elizabeth rosemond said...

There ISN'T a better reason! Truly. I have 3 kids but, if I'm being perfectly honest with myself, I don't document stuff for them. They may NEVER care. I do it because I love it...because I have to.

Margrethe said...

I love this blog post! I scrap for the same reason as you do, without any children. Thank you for putting all of this into words!

Kelly in Canada said...

Hi France,
I just wanted to say that 'there is no better reason!' I find it astounding (please know that I am very easily shocked) that people think they are allowed to really have an opinion about something that has absolutely nothing to do with them. I am now a mom of one amazing son but I was single until I was 36 years of age and I cannot really fathom that all the scrapbooks I made before marriage and motherhood are any less valuable than those I have made since. I treasure the books I have made but I don't really expect that anyone will love them as much as I do...if someone does and chooses to keep them then so much the better. Anyway, just needed to write all this. Hope you don't mind.

rhonda said...

The day my daughter was born I had a relative look at me and my husband and say "now you are a family" and I politely said " the day we married we were a family, today we just added a new member". I scrapbook for me and hope that she will treasure her pages but I do have a life worth documenting to me!

allie.duckienz said...

Woot, woot, well said!
I often have people ask me what ever do I scrapbook. Well... I don't have time to scrapbook all the stories and things that happen to me. I also am not that great a traveller (hopefully yet, but we'll see). Everyday is an adventure and worthy of being documented. Art is art regardless of whether it is personal or for sale.
Allie

Tricia said...

Wow! I was randomly clicking through scrapbook sites and was led to your etsy page and was curious enough to go to your blog - talk about serendipity! I have felt so guilty about considering scrapbooking for "just us two" even though we have a whole slew of extended family. I'm so so very happy I found you. I've only read this one post and had to stop and say Thank You!

Mel said...

I so appreciate this post. Lately, I've been having a bit of a crisis of scrapbooking faith, wondering why I bother when it seems like nobody really cares about the pages and projects I create but me. (As if that's somehow not enough.) You have a powerful and inspiring perspective. Thanks for sharing it.

ClaireTet said...

I really enjoyed this post. I only started scrapbooking after I had my daughter but I have a rule that for every layout I complete about her there is a layout about my husband and I. Our story before Scarlett's arrival is just as interesting and valid as her story.

creating memories.. said...

:)) I'am a mother of two and started scrapbooking just few months back.. I love to scrapbook about ME more than I love to do about them ;))

kelly purkey said...

i really, really love and appreciate this post. everything you're saying is meaningful and i agree 100%

thanks for sharing this post.

chemgirl said...

Thank you for this post. I am often faced with the same thoughts.

khloe said...

very interesting post! thank for this.

Jill said...

Love this post, France! I need to visit your blog more often ;) I'm single, 36, and thinking kids of my own will probably not be a part of my life story, either. I'm completely OK with that, as I'm so on the fence about having them. . .anyway, I love your points about documenting your OWN story - just a valid and valuable. Like you and others, I do this because I love crafting in this way. And I do it because it reminds me how many blessings surround me - big and small. And it's usually the small ones that are making the most difference, day in and day out. Perhaps I define selfish differently than others, too. When I'm asked about having kids and I explain how I'm on the fence, I always say that I think it would be incredibly selfish of me to have them just to follow the status quo, even though I'm not not sure I want them - rather than I'm selfish and that's why I don't have any. Being true to oneself is not selfish and I believe the world would be a far happier place if more people worked to understand who they are. Enough on my soapbox! Thanks for keeping it real and creating such fantastic products for us :)