Indianapolis Lifestyle Photographer | Project Ten | Alone

Indianapolis Lifestyle Photographer | casey and her camera

This month’s Project Ten theme was ‘Alone’. Not sure what Project Ten is? Check out this post, here! This is my fifth month participating in this project and another good challenge for me. I often chicken out before asking people around me to participate in my projects, but this month I put out a ‘model call’ to my coworkers and had ten people signed up before I knew it. 

You see, I manage a ranch here in Colorado as my day job. I work with amazing, extraordinary people with hearts of pure gold. People who give up the typical ‘day job’ to work seasonal jobs with youth. More specifically, these people mentor and guide at-risk youth who have a handful, when lucky, of positive adult role models in their lives. These young people come to Colorado to become our staff and dedicate 8 months of their lives to our program – an 11-day intensive, outdoor and experiential education, social-emotional, equine therapy program. Yeah, that’s a mouthful, right? It’s pretty much 24/7 when you’re on, with very little off time, and the rewards are all in the faces and words of the teenagers they impact.

One of my favorite interview questions to ask these people is ‘how do you take care of yourself’? Their schedules run about 12+ hours a day with a 3 hour break somewhere in there. Those three hours they get to themselves are the key to success and happiness in the position. Those who leave the ranch and have some alone time come back to work the most relaxed and rejuvenated. Of course, the go-to is to take a nap during that time…. these are reeeaallllyyyy long days. And for the first month or so, all you really want to do is sleep. For long periods of time. Once you get out of the adjustment period, though, it sets in that we’re literally located on the side of the Rocky Mountains.

I get all sorts of answers – after all, it’s an interview, right? I’ve heard almost everything at this point, but the answer to this question is sometimes the most important answer in their interview. If you have a good grasp on what YOU need to keep yourself balanced, you can likely learn to overcome the other challenges of this position. It’s hard to teach someone self-care and hobbies, though, so it can be a turning point for these folks.

Once they arrive, it’s a beautiful thing to see them discover the importance of these snippets of true alone-time that they get. I chose ten different staff for this project to highlight and emphasize that there are many things we, as human beings and individuals, do to take care of ourselves. There is no right or wrong answer – there are only many answers unique to the person. With ten volunteers, I had about 30 pass-times to choose from. We narrowed it down to these.

Being alone doesn’t mean being solemn, although it can. It doesn’t mean being silent, though it could be. It doesn’t mean being still, but you can choose to be. It means taking time out – for you. It’s part of being healthy. It’s part of finding balance. It means there is no one else, but you. The only instruction I gave to these people is to ‘pretend I’m not here’. I told them to do whatever they would normally do if I wasn’t hiding in the corner with a camera. I told them to be themselves. They chose their location, their position, their alone-time activity, and then they forgot I was there. And this is what happened next.

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Indianapolis Lifestyle Photographer | casey and her camera

casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Lifestyle Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.

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