This may seem a little out of place, next to all of the pictures of marriages, engagements and happy families. But rest assured, this fits. I love to get to know the people that I work with. I am an open book and sometimes I have experiences that just BEG to be shared, as a little life lesson to myself and maybe for others. This is one of those moments.
A few months ago I went on a spree of de-cluttering. De-cluttering my closet, my home and my email inbox. I figured out a way (I thought!) to simply move all of my personal gmail correspondence to my business account under a “personal” label. Seemed easy enough, I wouldn’t have to check more than one account any longer! I entered my password and went on about my day. Turns out when you move an entire account, it starts at DAY ONE. In other words, my emails were flooding back into existence from more than 10 years ago. My poor business account was dinging as 200 emails came through with every refresh.
At first, it just annoyed me. I wanted to know how to make it stop NOW. But then, I started to read a few emails as they popped up in notifications on my phone. I was still in grad school. I was 24 year old Amy. No kids, no mortgage…no husband. As that first day went on I would catch a subject line every now and then that would pique my interest. My Mom emailed a lot, so did my Aunts. I met my future husband in the spring of 2005, and got to read the juicy details as told to my best friends all over again. It was amazing how much I did (or had time to do!). Plans every weekend, trips out of town…I had so much fun!!!
And then I started to see names that I no longer see pop up on my radar. The lost friendships. You know…the ones that never had a clear end but just sort of fizzled out along life’s path. I felt a strange almost nostalgic guilt. It wasn’t regret, just a tiny part of me that wants to know what they are up to now.
I saw my best friends names constantly. Girls that stood with me on my wedding day. We were all single and talked constantly about the shenanigans the weekend brought. I don’t talk to them with such frequency anymore. Marriages, babies, moves, etc.
I read the emails congratulating me on my engagement, and then shortly thereafter the emails lamenting our move south. A whole year’s worth of wedding planning was thrown back into my mind, every tedious email. Our vows! I emailed Will our vows.
And then the heartbreak of my first pregnancy, the baby I lost before I even knew I could love something more than myself. I mourned our loss again. I realized how deeply that affected me, and was in the unique position of being sad and overwhelmingly grateful at the same time. 2008 Amy didn’t know how beautiful life with children, her children could be.
Pictures, videos, many precious memories from lost loved ones came rushing back to me. I found a whole online account full of videos of my son’s first year taken on a real-live camcorder!!! This time, when I watched those videos I sat an enjoyed them with my big kids, no longer babies, they laughed hysterically at their younger selves.
I saw my photography business start to emerge again. The first drafts of my business plan, nervous emails with trusted mentors and late night idea memos I’d sent to myself. What was just a dream years ago was now a reality! I became overcome with a sense of pride in what I had built in the moments in between. I was so unsure of myself and what direction this little portrait business might take me. Would I ever get enough work to leave my “day job”? Dreams were sitting there inside a forgotten part of my inbox staring me in the face.
Slowly, I made it back to the present-day emails and the stream slowed to a halt. I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to have made a simple mistake when I checked off the boxes for my email import. I was looking for efficiency, to speed things up a bit. Instead I was served up a big ole plate of slow down with a side of gratitude.