I get it. We live in the golden age of technology. We are lucky to have phones that have cameras, and access to the internet, and instant communication. I’m amazed by and in awe of technology. It is a gift.
But for me, it can also be a curse.
Let’s back up, so I can tell you where all this is coming from. A few weeks ago I was trying to organize our computer to clear out some space on the hard drive. I started thinking about how many photos we have.
I cannot remember the last time I looked at any of them. And we have SO many!
It caused me to pause and reflect on how much time I spend viewing my life through my phone’s camera rather than focusing on being present. I’m someone who is easily distracted (understatement of the year) and chances are if I’m taking a photo I’m not actually engaging in the moment.
Let me give you an example.
Years ago, when my little cousin Ava was born, I took so many damn photos of her. Like, so so many. And can I just say, I haven’t looked at a single one since then. Not one. Why was I so concerned with documenting her cuteness? Why couldn’t I just be present. I feel like I wasted time taking pictures of her, scrambling to catch her laugh or smile, so preoccupied with capturing the moment that I didn’t actually witness it.
I realize this sounds a little hypocritical, considering I take photos all the time for this blog. But to me, it’s more about trying to actually connect with others and give them my undivided attention when we spend time together. Because the best memories I have are not of snapping away on my iPhone, but of actually connecting to a fellow human being. Looking in a loved one’s eyes during an intimate conversation. Making a craft with Ava. Watching a sunset with Tom.
This isn’t a rant against photos. Photos are great, and by all means, take them. I just know for me, I am easily swept up into the visual world and that often lands me in the isolation chamber. I’m busy scrolling Instagram instead of listening and connecting.
Where is the line between participating in your own life and living a virtual one? A life lived for a Facebook post is not one I want. Yes, it feels good to connect and share via social platforms. They help us unite and tap into a sense of community. But I’ve also found myself wondering what others will think of a photo before I even snap it. It’s a slippery slope for me. Is it for you? How do you find balance and sanity? Where are your boundaries? Do tell.
I’m not bashing the camera-phone. And I hope this doesn’t sound preachy. It’s just something I struggle with, and I suspect I am not alone.
While my sister and her fiance are here over the holidays I am going to make an active effort to set down my phone and connect with them. Instead of taking photos of my cute cousins when they are being silly and adorable I am going to focus on imprinting that memory on my heart and not my phone. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I hope to be more present this holiday.
It is my Christmas gift to myself.