Just A Thought: On Living in the Moment
March 26, 2021
I want you to imagine two things. The first, walking with a friend. Smiling so hard your face hurts, feeling the cool breeze in the summer air, hearing the birds sing in the air above. Completely focused on the conversation, leaving everything else behind in order to be present.
The next thing I want you to picture is once again being with a friend, but feeling your hand twitch for the phone buried in your pocket. Anxious about whether or not you are able to get a good picture together, and wanting to show others what you’re doing. Wondering how many people will view your story or like your picture. While it’s entirely the same situation, the need to share it is overpowering, and makes the moment that could be meaningful, dull, instead.
This same type of experience applies to so many people, especially right now. It can be important to capture and cherish the happy moments in the face of something bleak; that’s something we’ve certainly come to recognize over the past year. However, regardless of the pandemic, we have all begun to shift to saving so many things as digital memories that we forget about the importance of what’s right in front of us.
There have been so many times where I’m hanging out with someone or seeing something cool and my initial reaction is to take a picture and post it somewhere, rather than enjoy the moment. Of course, some of the more important memories you want to have captured as a photo or video so you can revisit it later on, but our first thought in every situation should not be to post a picture.
With social media, it has become almost overly normalized to share our every thought and action. Not only this, but we alter situations so they will purposefully seem “cooler” to everyone else.
This thinking pattern is so harmful for the main reason being that we’ve all gradually stopped living in the moment. A joke here, a smile there – all we think about is saving it digitally, and we forget how meaningful something can be if it’s only you who is there. If you put all your focus into one moment, it will be so much more special than if you’re concentrated on getting the perfect lighting.
Many of us, myself included, feel this sort of constant need to share. To let someone know what you’re doing or what you’re thinking, unknowingly seeking their approval. This is what I want all of us to get better at recognizing: when it’s best to share a moment, and when something is better kept private.
Taking some time to reflect on our actions is more important now than ever. One thing I think we should all take a little bit more time to consider is what exactly is lost when we are so intent on digitizing every single thing.
So many things rely on technology now, and of course I do have to admit that it is wonderful how many doors it opens for people who lack the opportunity. You can travel the literal universe with a click of a button, but on the flip side, people have taken this to mean they should just stay home. It’s easier, it’s cheaper, but it’s certainly not the same.
There is a certain beauty in going outside and feeling the cool breeze, the sun on your skin, and smelling the freshly cut grass. In planting a flower and feeling the dirt build up under your fingertips, and in hearing the rain beat down around your car. These are things that are simply not the same when experienced through a computer screen, and a moment that is lost forever if you don’t take the time to appreciate it.
Next time you’re laughing with a friend or seeing something cool and have the urge to pull out your phone, just leave it in your pocket. It’s a simple action, really, but I know it takes so much dedication and determination to actually go through with. Appreciate the moment for what it is, and make it last in your memory. Focus on the sounds and smells of everything around you, and appreciate how beautiful life can be.