Like so many other household projects, maybe starting to organize your photo collection is something you say you’ll get to eventually.
Eventually means you think you have an unlimited amount of time to do it. It means you know there will be a better time. It means that it can wait. It means that if it doesn’t happen, well, life will go on. It means that it’s not that important.
Would you say that about your family memories? “They’re not that important.”
If something happened to your generations of family photos, would you shrug and say, “Oh well. No big loss.”
I am positive that nobody reading his would say those things.
We assume that we have decades stretched out in front of us to complete our project. We think of our lives linearly (and actually photos contribute to that perception), that things are rather predictable, and that when the time is right the time will be right. We think that bad things won’t happen to us. We think we have all the time in the world.
But what if eventually never comes?
If we KNEW when hard drives would crash, would you be cavalier about backing it up? If you knew that the next hurricane would be a direct hit and you’d have water damage, would you leave your photos exactly where they are, to be ruined by a natural disaster?
Trust me, you may not know exactly when it will happen, but all of our photos, printed or digital, are perilously close to destruction. At any given time. They are mortal. They have lifespans.
So, what if today was the day that something happened to your pictures?
When is the EVENTUALLY that will be the perfect time for finally deal with sorting, organizing, and safeguarding generations of photos? Is it next week? Next month? When school is out? After the kids are a little older? When you have more time? Maybe you see this as a retirement project. Or maybe you think your photos are fine as they are and it doesn’t need to be done at all?
Instead of waiting to have more time, we have to think about buying out the time for an important project. And, let’s be honest, your photo collection is growing exponentially day by day because of the ubiquity of digital cameras in all of our devices. Will it be better to wait until next year when you may have 10,000 ADDITIONAL photos to deal with? No! Better to get a system in place now so that future photos can easily be organized and preserved.
I often hear people say they’ll EVENTUALLY sit down with their parents or grandparents, aunts, whoever, and go through their photos to learn who all the family members are. That’s another EVENTUALLY that unfortunately can’t be delayed forever and that far too often, sadly, becomes a missed opportunity. You can start your photo project n your own and then bring other family members into it. The important part is just starting.
EVENTUALLY is the far distant future. Eventually is the opposite of soon. It’s the opposite of urgently. It’s the opposite of NOW. And it’s the refuge of procrastination, of putting off, of negligence. I promise, if you don’t feel a sense of urgency in beginning this project, it will never happen.
If your photos become damaged or lost, you will have no greater regret than putting off this project. “I always meant to…” “I wish I had…” “If only there was a copy…” “If only I had a back up…”
When will you begin the project that will bring your family history into the 21st century and beyond?