See the picture here? Guess where it was taken. Yes, really, guess. Give up? That’s because it could have been taken in lots of places, right? But I know this scene is in Portland, Maine because I took it. It’s one of the very few that I stopped to take during my vacation.
And when I say stopped, I mean really stopped. We were walking along the water and it was so beautiful. I wanted to enjoy it and really be in the moment – take it all in. I stopped and looked and appreciated it all: the piercing blue sky, the wispy clouds, the white lighthouse in the distance, the water. Everything.
I took a deep breath. Soaking it up.
And then I took a picture to remember that moment.Now, you might think I’m a hypocrite, since the title of this post is “Stop posting pictures during your vacation!” But, really, this post is about my suggestion to everyone out there who’s tempted to take photos all the time on vacation to take a step back and truly LIVE in each moment. Be present. This is something I’ve just started to work at myself so I’m sharing what I’m learning.
Being present when I’m away from work means not looking at my life through the lens of a camera. Because, at the end of the day, how many of my photos do I look at when I get back? I mean, really – go through, again and again? Not many. I take them and often, I forget about them.
And although I took this photograph, to remember this moment, I didn’t post it on social media. I didn’t share it. I just wanted to carry that special moment with me – to remember; remember the sight, the sound, the scent, and the company.
My question to you is: why do you take photos and post them? Is it to share with your friends and family?
That’s a wonderful idea and helps people stay in touch long-distance. I certainly appreciate when my family and friends share what they’re doing so I can partake in their joy and their travels.
But, realize – as I realize for myself – that every moment you spend behind the camera: framing a shot, worrying about light, composition, color. Every time you go through your filters and decide what’s best for this photo, or that. Every video you take to capture the beauty of that moment – you are, yourself, outside of it.
You can’t be focusing on the camera and “being present” at the same time. By taking these videos and photos, you’re distancing yourself from fully enjoying the moment yourself. You’re robbing yourself of the moment. I’ve found that I remember it much more profoundly when I take it all in, with all my senses, and don’t think of anything else at all except what’s in front of me.
Now, when I’m on vacation or with my family or at a special event or place, I want to actually be a part of it: the sound, the smell, the temperature, the feel of the sun, or the warmth, or the cold. I want to truly BE THERE, at that time. Because I won’t ever get that back. NOW is now – and then it’s gone.
Because I want this for myself- I want it for you, too.
I don’t think it’s possible to do both – live totally in the present and in the moment while trying to capture it on video or in the perfect photo.
I hope, like me, you’ll be able to enjoy something wonderful this summer – or fall. I challenge you to do that – to NOT post it on Instagram. Or to share on Facebook. There’s plenty of opportunity to do that all day long. Instead, steal a moment (or two) for yourself. You deserve it!