In the unending assault on our regular-people lives, I’ve noticed that we are now expected to find the time, money, energy, creativity, and ideal lighting to lead not just a happy and full life, or even an organized life, but a curated life.
The goal of a curated life is beautiful simplicity – the reward of having been carefully intentional about who, and what we’ve allowed into the space we occupy. Everything is just so in the curated life; it’s clean and tidy, pastel and breezy, and somehow always in soft focus, with just the right amount of whimsy. Raspberry lemonade is served there.
Sure I’ve been sucked in to wanting this too. I would love to wrap myself in a cashmere blanket and drink Oprah’s new chai tea latte, and read the latest book club selection while bathed in the most flattering lighting that would make me look young, yet wise… pretty, yet approachable… smart and worldly, and the teensiest bit carefree. That moment’s the goal, man, it is. But alas, it’s just a moment. Eventually I would have to bring in the mail and clean the bathroom.
I flip through my photos, and they don’t look like the gauzy, aspirational snapshots that aim to demonstrate what a curated life looks like. My photos make my life look like it has been curated by Amelia Bedelia.
No matter what filter I put on the pictures of my life, there are extra people in the background, or stacks of books and papers and wayward shoes, and the vacuum propped up in the corner. My kids’ clothes are wrinkled, or my neighborhood is stubbornly showing its dreary fog. My hair is messy, and my billowy top combined with the unflattering lighting, and weird slouchy way I’m standing makes me look five months pregnant. We’re not just talking basic photography mistakes – these images have captured the moments of what my life is really like. The people I love, in the place that I am, surrounded by everything else.
My husband John took this photo of our family walking down the street on a regular evening. Yes, my youngest is dressed like Indiana Jones, and as we noticed later, “mob life” is written permanently in the concrete:
Here’s the photo I took of John and I at a beautifully scenic beach, before I thought to turn the camera around and include the ocean and Golden Gate Bridge:
If you have somehow managed to curate out your long and boring commute to work, the cereal boxes from the top of the fridge, the stomach flu, and the pets who shed, congrats. Maybe you’ve placated your child with a charming handmade rag doll instead of 1000 pink plastic unsightly toys. Maybe you’ve somehow stopped accumulating mail, church bulletins, school newsletters, and annoying neighbors and family members. But probably not.
We all want the perfect moments, but let’s try to remember they are perfect, in part, because they are fleeting. Those Instagrammable vignettes are strung together by gooey, messy life stuff; stuff that is simply uncurateable, whether you are rich or not, glamorous or not, parent or not, lifestyle brand guru, or not.
Some days are loud and messy and packed with people, graffiti, and circumstances and surroundings we can’t style, or control. Those are the days that give us wisdom, and experience, and fun stories for cocktail parties. (Trust me, nobody wants to hear about that time you read a book and drank tea while looking amazing.) You will be thankful for the messy days, because when you’ve put them all together, they will have accounted for almost the entirety of your life, and realize we’re all closer to achieving the mob life, than the curated life.
In case you’ve forgotten, or haven’t stumbled on this gem from the 70’s, Amelia Bedelia is the hapless maid and star of the Peggy Parish children’s books of the same name. Amelia makes sponge cake from sponges, and serves corn kernals to Mr. and Mrs. Rogers as their “chicken dinner.” She is both hilarious and frustrating, but even after 40 years, her butterscotch cake still looks delicious.
Find more of my mob life phots on Instagram, @colleenweems, and on twitter @fulcrumchron
10 thoughts on “My Curated Life. (curation courtesy of Amelia Bedelia)”
Colleen nails it again! They don’t call it “mob rule” for nothing!
hahaha, Anne, Thank you! xoxo
Wow. Even the thought of aspiring to a curated life makes me want to lie down! Your perspective and wit are always a delightful way to end the day, Colleen. And I am still relishing seeing you on this side of the tunnel recently. 🙂
Hahaha, agreed! I’m tired just thinking about it! Thanks for the kind note Molly and it was so great to see you too!! xo
HI Colleen, your Richmond Va fan clubber debbie jones ( mother of Lauren, Chief, Mary, Greg, and soon to have new son-in law- Luke), I love this post because it reminds me that even though I am frantically, happily, getting ready for Mary’s wedding on July 12, my house and my clothes and my life will never be curated and I don’t want it to be….my pictures always have some mess in the background or our hair looks weird, or we just woke up on Christmas morning and that’s how we look – we look funny. I’m gonna try to keep your post in mind in the run up to the wedding. love to you and your family!
Hi Debbie! So great to hear from you – I loved and appreciated your very funny and real note! Been thinking about you guys as you prepare for the big day. You bring so much fun and love to everything – it’s going to be great! Please give my best to the whole family! xoxo
It is far too common for Television,Movies, Celebrities and the Wealthy to set an agenda for our own lives. At what point did we begin to allow the Celebrity to set a future for us? Your blog is so relevant today. With so much information and pictorial imaging about us, it is quite difficult to escape the peer pressure to become ‘one of the select group’. This is indeed part of what you refer to as ‘A Curated Life’.
The real world is not like that and nor should it be.
Thank goodness it is not. We need colour in our lives, colour to stimulate the common and elaborate the unusual. We need people taking the chances, not chances with lives and other peoples’ assets, but with thinking. We need to create and develop ideas and I am glad you brought this to the fore.B
Hi! thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful, and insightful note! cheers!
Hi Coleen – I love your Chronicles! And I missed you last year – or was it the year before that – at KIDS ROCK! Keep up you Chronicles!
Bob Hoots (And Hi to John, too!)
Thanks Bob…for reading and for your nice note! Miss you guys too and give my best to Barbara!