A good 10 years ago, my husband and I were 1000 feet up in a helicopter over Niagra Falls. I’ll never forget the first moment I saw the Falls, it was breath taking, a real holy sh*t moment. The helicopter ride was a surprise for his birthday. It was thrilling. I was mesmerised, taking it all in. Nothing was going to ruin that moment, nothing except for my husband spending a good amount of the flight fumbling with the camera trying to change the batteries (this was in the days before camera phones) and completely missing the views.
“Why don’t you stop that and look at the view?”, I asked (you can assume the tone).
“The battery has died and I want to take pictures to show everyone”
“Well we’ll buy some postcards. Just stop because you’re missing it.”
Can you guess how many people were actually bothered about seeing our holiday photos when we returned home (and all this in the days before Facebook and Instagram?) hardly any. And with our rubbish camera, the photos hardly did the experience any justice. But I have my memories, not just the images but the feelings too.
I see it all the time – especially during this age of social media – people not being present. Too consumed with capturing an image, writing a post or ‘checking-in’ right in the midst of their experience. It takes the mind from what you’re feeling and what’s going on – to what others will think and feel about what you’re doing. How many times have you done this? How many times have you been somewhere and posted and then spent at least a good 10 minutes checking your feed, or playing with Insta filters, oblivious to what is going on around you?
I’m guilty of it. My life experiences form a large part of my job now. My poor friends sitting patiently waiting for me to take a picture of the food before they can eat it. I have so many channels of communication to check and update. Constantly available to me 24/7 – it’s so easy to open and so hard to fully switch off.
But switch-off we must so that we can switch-on to the meaningful.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not anti-social media. It’s helped me to have stronger bonds with people I live far away from and maintain friendships that may have naturally reduced to just a card at Christmas. It’s great to see and share in my friends experiences and achievements. But it shouldn’t be put above actually living the moment.
Here’s where I set you a challenge…
In any situation, a day out, a concert, a holiday, you name it – grab your pictures yes, but carve out time where you focus fully on the moment you are in. Take it all in. Try not to think about Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or insert name of yet another social app – ignore everything other than fully living and enjoying the whatever it is you’re doing.
Sharing a post is great, getting lots of likes and comments is great, but it’s fleeting. Memories of truly lived moments stored in your mind are the ones that will fire your happiness for a lifetime.
Moments are a series of bite-sized pieces intended to encourage you to reflect, feel more positive and become (or keep) motivated. They stem from everyday experiences and may include little tasks for you.
You might also like to read: Moments: Winning the internal fight
I would love to hear your thoughts. How easy do you find it to switch off and be fully present? Get in touch by leaving a comment in the box below