For my first Action Project in Journalism we were tasked with figuring out what the meaning of life is. A huge topic, no single answer is correct, so I decided to interview one of my grandparents, someone who has lived a long life and might have a better understanding. It was great to hear stories about growing up in a whole different society. It was really hard coming up with interview questions to try to find out what the meaning of life is, because it’s not just as easy as saying “whats the meaning of life?” as you might imagine. If you would like to read my story, keep reading below!
As we sit at home on a lazy Sunday morning, watching TV, we quickly kick up conversation about how school is going. I begin to explain my two classes and, as I start to explain my current course, Journalism, she exclaims how she loves journalism. I explain my current assignment to her, how I’m supposed to talk with someone about the meaning with life, and she says “Okay”. I sit there for a moment wondering what just happened. She didn’t know that I was actually going to interview my grandpa the next day, but who am I to pass down a cool conversation about life?
So, I awkwardly go to my room to grab my notebook and pen, and I can feel the excitement she has to start talking about the topic as I re-enter the room. Before I asked a question, she began telling stories, which I soon realized she had a lot of. She talks about growing up in a small town in Iowa; more importantly, how she moved to Chicago to go to nursing school. She spoke about her first experience in a big city: without her extremely conservative parents, she had no leash, no boundaries. Later she started to explain what gives her meaning in life, and she touched on how new opportunities and new sections of her life have really continuously changed what life means to her.
The word travel is something she quickly begins to focus on. “Being able to see something unlike anything you’ve ever seen before at my age is an extraordinary opportunity”. She talks about how she doesn’t make big purchases, and how she still works to make money to go on trips and experience new things in her life. I begin to ask her about how her family had an affect on her life and, after another moment of silence, I finally get the answer I was looking for, her meaning of life. Upon the question of what life is, she breaks it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly. We go back and forth through these transitional periods in life. Life is constantly changing for us, and it’s how we adapt and live through these changes, is where we find meaning in our life.
Towards the end of the conversation I notice how I still haven’t taken a photo that I’m happy with. That’s not to say I haven’t take one; I had about fifteen others to pick from, but none seemed right. It was when she stood up to grab something from the kitchen that I recognized a good moment to take a photo. If there were one thing you would be able to tell upon having a conversation with my grandma, it would be that she couldn’t stop moving or doing things. Even years after retirement, she still babysits, and gets out of the house to take the bus to a friends house, or goes to do her antique shopping in which she buys things, cleans/makes them better, then sells them for more. She’s always looking for experiences and opportunities in life. That is the person I see when I took this photo.
In the background of this photo, you see the sunlight shining through our windows in the living room. If you notice what she’s wearing, you might question why she has a vest on, even though she is inside. That’s because even on a lazy Sunday morning she had already been out to run errands, went out for breakfast, and got back by the time I made it to the living room.
The aperture is wide, and the shutter speed is a little slow as you can see a little bit of blur as my grandma is moving. The photo does not focus on anything specific, but you are naturally drawn to the light coming from the window. I tried to capture the photo to show that she was on the move by capturing a majority of what was behind her. I did not expect the light to come through on the photo, but I think it really adds to the quality of the photo. This photo does a great job of summing up the personality of my grandma, on the move and active.