Gretchen Rubin

Photographs make me happy, but they’re also making me miserable.

One of my resolutions is to Be a treasure house for happy memories.

As part of this, I’ve been conscientiously maintaining our family photo albums. I use them as a kind of family diary, to capture little family jokes or funny incidences as well as the usual round of birthday party, holiday, and vacation scenes.

Research has shown that depressed people have as many nice experiences as other people, but they don’t remember them as well. And even for people who aren’t depressed, thinking back on happy times elevates mood.

Plus, observing and preserving memories is one of the most satisfying ways of bringing order to life.

So I know that keeping up with family photographs is an important tool in happiness building.

But I’m feeling overwhelmed, guilty, dejected about our photographs! I haven’t finished making the Shutterfly album from this SUMMER.

I haven’t ordered hard copies of photographs in months, and now I can’t remember what I’ve ordered and what I haven’t (I’m sure I can figure it out, it will just be a pain).

The photos that I did order haven’t been put in an album yet. They're in several disorganized, loose piles.

I also need to go through the pictures on the camera, delete the bad ones, and upload the good ones.

I know I need to get a grip on this photograph issue, because it will just get worse over time—especially because the two girls’ birthdays are coming up, which means lots of photo opps.

I realized that I've been making one of the WORST happiness mistakes a person can make. I kept telling myself that I’d deal with the various photo initiatives “in my free time.”

Guess what? I don’t have any free time! Not the kind of free time where I’m wandering around the house, asking, “Gosh, what should I do with myself? Well, I suppose I have nothing better to do than to sort through four months worth of on-line photographs and place my orders.”

This is a common mistake. We tell ourselves, “I’ll clean out my closet when I have a free afternoon” or “We’ll go apple-picking when we have a free weekend.” But the time never does free up.

If I want to get something done, I need to make time for it.

LifeDev is a great resource, with lots of useful advice delivered in a gentle and humorous way.

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