Some time ago, I woke up a little earlier than usual. I went to the kitchen and when I was coming back to my room, I couldn’t help but notice the break of dawn out of my window and for a second I froze and stand there, mesmerized. The room was in complete silence and, for a moment, I felt incredibly lucky. It was amazing how such a simple moment could make me feel such strong emotions.
I felt amazing, but just for a second. Soon I went for my smart phone to take a picture. It took me a few seconds, I had to find a great angle and then add the perfect filter and finally, the hashtags. I uploaded the picture and then send it to some friends. I wanted that everybody could see what I was seeing, and hopefully, could feel at least something somehow similar.
By the time I looked back up, the beautiful dawn was just another sunny day. Beautiful nevertheless, but not quite as magical.
I had lost a great, beautiful, emotional moment because I had some other three or four things to do before I could allow myself to truly enjoy the moment. I had to share it because this is the advantage of being connected all the time, and we had to make it count, right?
We Are Gatherers
We, humans, are gatherers. We gather money, food, relationships and we also love to gather memories and stories. We are often more concerned about documenting our most important moments than what we care to enjoy them.
We want to preserve those joyful moments forever and we want to able to relive every experience in a distant future. We have come to believe that by documenting our experiences we have encapsulated them, like a genie in a bottle.
So when we catch a glimpse of sunset that takes our breath away or the smile of a loved one that make our heart jump, we instinctively reach for our smartphones or digital cameras in order to preserve the moment; forever, we hope. But we fail to realize that what took away our breath and made our heart jump wasn’t the picture we were so eager to take, or the ability to preserve the moment, but the living of the experience itself.
How could it make sense to interrupt these moments in order to take a picture that won’t bring half the joy that such moment is providing? In our effort to preserve a moment or experience that brings us joy, we ruin the moment itself.
When we are out on vacations, we put a great deal of effort in making sure our experiences are being efficiently documented, and the easiest way of doing this today is by taking pictures of everything and everyone. We take more pictures than we will actually see –if we see any at all.
We seem to have forgotten the value of living our lives, in favor of documenting every single thing down to the minimal detail. We have forsaken the pleasure of living in favor of the ability to remember.
Build Emotional Memories
How does it sound to go on vacations without a camera or without the ability to take pictures? Why would this be a problem if, after all, we are on vacations to relax and/or to live new experiences, not to come up with the latest guide on beach umbrellas?
The problem is not taking pictures; photography is an amazing creative outlet. The problem is allowing our eagerness for collecting and preserving memories and stories to interfere with our lives, which is how we really build such memories and stories in the first place.
You can always upload that picture later, and if you missed the opportunity to take the picture at all, at least you can describe the scene in all detail because you invested your whole focus and attention into it. But you will never be able to relive that special moment you just let go. And you will soon find that looking to a picture and not being able to remember how the moment made you feel is a very boring experience in comparison to the real deal.
We can remember by going over the data we have collected, or we can remember by evoking the emotions a given moment provoked within ourselves. When it comes to personal special moments, is not hard to figure out which has the potential to bring the most joy.
Care more about living and remembering you experiences by the feelings it made you feel, than by how many pictures you took.
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