This is important

I am often accused of over-extending myself. It’s a tough point to argue – I run a really successful photography business, I mentor several other photographers, I’ve been working hard at building up Concrete Oyster, I’m putting together a photo book,I’ve been writing and writing and writing, I’m an avid reader and am usually both crafting and reading at the same time, I have a way-too-active social life and spend what seems like a lot of time having coffee with people, AND I have a family – my daughter is 3.5 and a lot of my time is spent taking her to preschool, or dance, or swimming. I used to have a 9-5 day job, too.

I don’t usually feel over-extended. Mostly, I get ideas, and I feel the need to immediately act upon them. I love completing projects, I love creating things, I love building my own little empires from scratch. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. I do because I feel I must. It’s so hard to slow down.


Moments in life pass by those who do not stop to notice them. When you look backward, the moments are what matter – not the things you made, the ideas you executed. What is the point of a moment if you were too busy recording it to actually live it? Put down the camera. Put down the pen. Stop trying to remember something while it is still happening – the power of the memory is diminished if it is not yet a memory. We pillage our lives for the sake of art, at times. It can be so hard to just live.

I feel so sorry for my generation, because we are so changed from what we were. We changed. When I got my first mobile phone, in high school, now a decade and a half ago, I was basically alone in this luxury. I was a bit afraid to use it; I didn’t really know or understand what it cost, whether it was worth it. I got in trouble for having it at school. I forgot to charge it for months, it never, ever rang, there was no such thing as text messaging, there was no such thing as Facebook.

What I miss the most from those days is the ability to be completely engrossed in something. Where did all my focus go? My iPhone ate it, I think. Why call it a phone – I hardly think of it as one. Rather it’s an email-checking text-messaging Facebooking contraption that tells me when I have likes and comments and repins and conversations. When it rings, I almost never answer it. Earlier this week, I went for a shower and when I came back I had 18 text messages from 7 different people. I sometimes miss being unpopular.

I look at my three-year-old daughter and wonder what lies in store for her generation. I hope they shun all this. I hope they realize the value of true human interaction. I hope they live in the moment. I hope they’re not like us. I hope that getting behind the wheel of a car does not put them in mortal danger of being killed by a texter. I hope they can hold a true face-to-face conversation with a friend without even thinking about what’s going on in that non-world where all their acquaintances are too busy announcing on their day-to-day lives to actually live them. I hope that they see that the fact that something is more convenient doesn’t necessarily make it better. I look at her and think, I hope she never grocery shops at 7-11 like me. I hope her idea of culture isn’t Starbucks. I hope she questions everything. I  hope she realizes that every moment that we have together is important – that life is so very finite, that we only get to do it once, and that it is all we have.

This is important

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18 Responses to This is important

  1. Charlene says:

    You sound so sad. You are a productive person who manages somehow to make every enterprise you undertake successful. If only the effort I put into things came out half as successful as your projects. I am a busy person too. If I’m not in the middle of something I feel anxious. I too can’t stand being “finished” anything. Be proud of yourself. But I get what your saying. I worry about my son too. So many kids have uninvolved parents -life is so busy for most parents just keeping a household running and bills paid and gadgets that seem so necessary bought that actually being with their kids slides by and that has lead to such a strange kid culture. Little kids think they are adults and act older then they are. They are bullied or bullies, they are lonely or so surrounded by peers they loose themselves. I had trouble in high school too but now it seems so much worse and starts so much earlier. I worry that I won’t have enough time and influence to keep Ian’s confidence up when others beat him down. It’s not like you can get away from it nowadays with the Facebook and cell phones. Here’s to taking time to reflect and then stoping to play with our kids. By the way, that picture is so cute and strangely a little sad. I can see why it spoke to you for this post.

    • Jen McLeod says:

      When I first started reading your comment I thought, I’m not sad, maybe a little melancholy. But the truth is, I am sad over it. Or nostalgic, but it feels like it goes beyond that. I sometimes get to thinking that the reason that I’m so busy – that everyone is so busy, is so that we don’t have the time to stop and think about what’s missing in our lives. I’m going to go play with my kid now. And I think/hope/pray that because we care enough to bother worrying about this, that our children will not suffer from our distractions, that we will be the better people, the involved parent, the person present in the moment.

  2. Julie says:

    beautifully written, and so true!

  3. Lena Mills says:

    I love you Jen!!! I You make such a great point here, so well written, my extremely talented friend! I

  4. joyfulwriter says:

    Lovely post, beautifully written, and so true.

  5. Kelly says:

    Jen, you are and always have been, an amazing focused woman; have faith that you will keep it all together and pass it on to Seville. All you have to do is look to see where you learned it from, you have amazing parents!

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  8. sempsie says:

    Only yesterday I was thinking how glad I am that I didn’t grow up with mobiles and facebook, I value remembering a time when these things didn’t exist in the world. It is a double-edged sword. These things open up so many opportunities to us but the more opportunities we have the more choices we have to make and the more responsibility we have to take for those choices. We spend so much time doing one thing and feeling guilty because there is something else we are not doing. I think I should check what my priorities are.

  9. kvjinc says:

    So true! Take the good parts and leave the rest I guess.

  10. Pingback: This is important | Wondering Around

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