Here’s a discovery I’ve made that has contributed a lot to my happiness—and the happiness of other people.
The Big Girl and the Little Girl have three living great-grandparents, and a great-uncle, all of whom love to get photographs. I used to make copies of the photos I’d order, and send them off in packets every few months. But recently I found a better way.
Late adopter that I am, I finally switched to a digital camera and have been using the service Shutterfly, and I saw that you can make photo albums on their site.
My resolution to “Focus on books” includes the sub-resolution to “Make books.” So I decided to make a photo album using all the photographs from the summer. (Yes, I realize that the summer was months ago…oh well.)
It took a long time to crop the pictures, fix the red-eye, put them in order—and, very important, make sure that I didn’t inadvertently include more pictures of one girl than the other. Writing captions took the most time.
But the wonderful thing was that once I was done, it was just as easy to order five copies as one copy, so I got a copy for us, for the grandparents, and for the great-grandparents. Everyone received a neat, organized book, stuffed with photos (it was 81 pages long), and complete with captions.
I can barely keep up with keeping one album at a time, for us. I would never have undertaken to make any extra albums.
But using this service, it was easy to make one for everyone. And the album is very satisfying: tidy, polished, and visually interesting, with photos in different sizes and varying layouts. The albums are especially nice for the great-grandparents, who are given a context for the photos (the Big Girl on the first day of camp, the Little Girl trying to figure out how to sit in a chair)—and can read neat typed text instead of my horrendous handwriting.
It wasn’t cheap, but another resolution is to “Make purchases that will further my goals”—like strengthening family bonds. It also satisfies my resolution to “Be a storehouse of happy memories.”
Research has shown that although depressed people have as many nice experiences as other people, they don’t remember them as well. And for everyone, thinking back on happy times elevates mood. So by helping my family to recollect happy times from the past, I’m boosting their happiness in the present.
Already Summer 2006 seems so distant, and the family photo diary will help hold onto those memories.
Everyone in the family is thrilled with these albums. It gives me a real jolt of happiness to think about how much pleasure I’ve given them. “Do good, feel good!” Zoikes, it really works.