Hello! This is week 49 of my second personal challenge to take a picture of a person, every day, for a year.
This blog is actually a few weeks behind real-time. I'm sorry I'm behind here, but you can follow along in real-time on Instagram, where I post daily. My Instagram username is @missellanea.
Day 336 - Claire
This is Claire. We met in the park where I spotted her sitting on a bench, reading a book, and looking like she was just enjoying the day. We ended up visiting for quite a while. She told me a little about her life, and I told her a little about mine. We discovered that we share many similarities and in some aspects, we're living (or about to live) parallel lives. I love that this project has introduced me to so many great people. Visiting with Claire felt like I was talking with my mom or aunts.
The happiest thing happening in Claire's life is she's recovering from skin cancer, and she's also going to visit Spain and stay with family.
Claire's recent act of kindness is that she gave bus fare to a girl who appeared to be in a bad situation and needing to get out. Claire also gave a sandwich to a homeless person, along with a reusable bag for the person to carry their belongings.
"Being aware of life and understanding cultures," Claire said, is her life's purpose.
When I asked Claire something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I think I'm a little clairvoyant, or I read people." Perhaps she's both...the interaction we shared was one in which I really needed this day and I felt better having met her. Hopefully she felt the same.
Thank you, Claire.
Day 337 - Sher
This is Sher. I love it when I ask people the happiest thing happening in their lives, and they're so positive and so many great things are happening, that they can't choose just one. (The only thing that makes me happier than this, is when someone is temporarily in a bad spot, but still manages to find happiness, or gratitude, in something...even if it is simply just being alive.) Sher decided to give the answer that she's happy to be close to her daughter, and her relationship.
Sher was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness, twice over, in one situation. She scored a great used washer from FreeCycle and her friend drove over 30 miles to help her pick it up! (That's a great friend!)
"To bring more joy into the world," Sher answered, when I asked her life's purpose.
When I asked Sher something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I have a great kid!"
Thank you, Sher.
Day 338 - Nate
This is Nate. The happiest thing happening in his life right now is his marriage. One surprising observation I've had during these past two years, is that men are entirely more sentimental and sensitive than what I've ever realized. I haven't gone back to do an actual count of how many guys have answered that their relationship is the happiest thing happening in their life, but the number is surprisingly high, and actually quite touching.
Nate's recent act of kindness is that before we met, he had just held the door open for a large family.
"Life's just to enjoy it," Nate answered, when I asked his life's purpose. Again, Nate is another person who grounds us and reminds us that while we're in pursuit of our dreams and fulfilling our mission in life, we must remember to also enjoy it!
"I'm pretty successful in my career," Nate answered, when I asked something about himself that he considers to be a success. Nate has managed to find it all. Happy marriage, successful career, and he's enjoying life too! Thank you, Nate!
Day 339 - Parrish
This is Parrish. The happiest thing happening in his life is that he's been clean and sober for a while, he's getting back in the gym, and he's going to school for engineering.
"To do something to change the world for the better," Parrish answered, when I asked his life's purpose. I was happy for Parrish, and reminded him that simply by keeping clean, he's already changed his little corner of the world for the better.
"Being a father...the father I never had, and having a good relationship with my kids," Parrish answered, when I asked something about himself he considers to be a success.
Wishing you continued happiness and success, Parrish.
Day 340 - Becki
This is Becki. You've met her before. She's one of my oldest and dearest friends. Although I didn't look up her comments from her first appearance in this project, we laughed because we're pretty sure she had given very similar answers.
The happiest thing happening in her life at the time of this picture, is that she had just returned from a great vacation with her family.
Becki is one of those people who pretty much performs an act of kindness at least a half-dozen times a day. She's just that nice, thoughtful and caring. She's also trying to instill in her kids to be of service to the community and to those in need, so her service-work is a family affair. They volunteer with several different programs, events and organizations. While on vacation, they saw a girl crying on the side of the road so they stopped to offer help. "I just need to get home," the girl cried. Becki gave the girl all of the food they had left, water, and money for a bus ticket.
"Live each day to the fullest because you don't know if you'll be here tomorrow," Becki answered, when I asked her life's purpose. Becki embraces this and truly lives it each day. She survived a near-fatal accident just after high school, and because of it, she packs in about 3 days worth of living into each day.
When I asked Becki something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "my family...my kids." Her kids are smart, kind and loving and they're growing into exceptional young adults.
Becki, thank you for being the beautiful mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend that you are. I love you.
Day 341 - Amber
This is Amber. We met outside of Hollywood Theatre. I seriously did a double check, and then a triple check, to make sure she wasn't Cameron Diaz. Amber is as nice and fun, as she is beautiful. She was on a date and I just wanted to steal her away so that we could go make more pictures! She's just so much fun in front of the camera!
When I asked Amber the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered, "this man right behind me," as she looked over her shoulder to her date who was patiently waiting for us to finish doing our thing.
Amber feels like she's on both the receiving and giving end of kindness every day! Recently, she lost her wallet and a stranger returned it to her!
"To meet and interact with people," Amber said, is her life's purpose. She's living this purpose - I don't think you could walk past Amber without stopping to visit with her. She radiates fun and friendliness, and she's someone you just have to talk to!
When I asked Amber something about herself she considers a success, she answered, "my babies."
Thank you for being your bright and sunshiny self, Amber!
Day 342 - David
This is David. When I met David, he and his photographer/videographer friends were in a hurry, chasing light, on their way to go shoot one of the bridges. We only had time for one question, but we exchanged numbers and we did the rest of the "interview" via text messages.
"To make other people happy," David answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
Below are the rest of David's answers from our text interview. (I want to try this more often!)
Question: What is the happiest thing happening in your life right now?
David's Answer: I have been doing a lot of reflection and practicing self awareness recently in my life, and I'm finally finding my own way here in Portland. I moved here a year and a half ago, for a job, and finally finding my way.
Question: Have you recently performed an act of kindness or have you been on the receiving end of an act of kindness?
David's Answer: I work for Willamette University's professional MBA program. On Wednesday, my coworker and I drove down to Eugene and back to Portland, delivering over 200 sugar cookies to a dozen of our students at their work. It was surprising for so many of our students who work full time, have families and lives and also take MBA classes. I am amazed by all of them. They're the reason it's easy to come to work everyday, so we do what we can to make them feel happy.
Question: What's something about yourself you consider to be a success?
David's Answer: My biggest success has been my personal growth since I moved here. I'm becoming the man I always wanted to be. I used to cry at sleepovers, (in my own backyard) worrying about my family. And [now] I find myself 2800 miles from home, away from family, starting and building a life for myself. I even surprise myself sometimes!
I loved meeting David. He's the type of person with whom you feel an instant connection. We said we would do coffee some day, and so much time has passed, I worry he wouldn't remember me. But, he's been on my mind and I definitely want to be in touch with him again soon. Thank you, David. I hope we can make that coffee date happen.
I loved our text interview. Regretfully, I haven't used a voice recorder for this project. I just jot notes in my journal as quickly as I can. Some people are short and concise in their answers and I can easily write what they've said, but other people's answers are long, beautiful, interactions but I miss so much of their valuable significance and wisdom because I'm simply unable to note everything they've said. I have to rely on my memory to fill in the gaps left by the hastily written notes in my journal. And, I had no idea my poor little memory was going to get so spotted after 40-ish-something. If I were to ever continue doing this, I think it's time to get serious and record the interviews. I've now even considered broadcasting the interviews live on Periscope. (But I'm just way too bashful for that, and I think potential subjects would also shy away from an interview if they knew it would be a live broadcast to the world - or at least the few people watching live on Periscope.) At the very least, I think it's time to dig deeper and learn even more about people's personal stories.
Here's the summary of the life's purpose of the subjects from this week:
- Being aware of life and understanding cultures.
- To bring more joy into the world.
- Life's just to enjoy it.
- To do something to change the world for the better.
- Live each day to the fullest because you don't know if you'll be here tomorrow.
- To meet and interact with people.
- To make other people happy.
Thank you to every subject in this project. If you would like your picture, please don't hesitate to email me.
And, thank you for continuing to follow along. I'm striving to get back on track and will keep working at it until I do.
Have a great week!