Look back and think about a time when you felt 100% present. Maybe you were exerting yourself physically playing a sport, leisurely hiking in nature, excitedly reeling in a big catch or terrified as you watched the conclusion of a thriller. Can you recall how you felt? Can you feel the same sensation as you remember? You probably can, because in those moments you were using all of your senses and experiencing real emotion. You were living life.
Many of us these days can only recall a handful of times when we were really living life, because modern technology has taken away our ability to experience the moment. This is really a tragedy of our times. It’s a shame that so many people today don’t experience life as it was experienced in the past; taking everything in with our eyes and ears instead of our camera phones; connecting with our friends on a personal level instead of through a computer monitor; and creating real memories in our hearts and minds instead of on our Instagram or Facebook page.
Everyone should be able to truly experience every moment, and they can . . . but they don’t because they are too busy trying to record it. Life was meant to be lived not recorded. Memories were meant to be in the mind’s eye, not falsely created on an iPhone. There is nothing wrong with taking pictures to remember a moment, but don’t do it at the expense of actually having the moment.
You can find hundreds, no thousands of articles on this topic, and you can see it every day. Go to a restaurant and people are taking pictures of their meal. Go to an elementary school play and watch the parents as they watch their children’s image while they record it. Go to any professional concert or other live performance, and all you see is people holding up their phones, looking down at the tiny screens. Remember Adele, calling out a fan filming her at her concert? The singer stopped her song and said, “I’m really here. I’m live. Can you put that down?”
Psychologists have shown that this phenomenon has even gone so far as to affect a parent’s bond with their child. A 2014 study that aired on the Today Show talked about how children are feeling neglected and depressed because their parents are distracted by devices. Little Billy looks out into the crowd in his school’s auditorium and doesn’t see his Mother’s comforting face because it is hidden behind her cell phone.
Our advice to you is usually simple, and this time is no different; Stop trying to capture the moment and just enjoy it . . . Live your life, don’t record it.
You will get more out of actually experiencing an event than you will from people commenting on your documentation of that event. You don’t have to “prove to others” that you had a good time by making sure you snap and post a photo of yourself. You can actually have enjoyment without telling a single soul. The enjoyment comes from within, not from an outside source. If you learn that fact and live your life that way, you will experience things at a much more intense level. Don’t cheat yourself. Live in the moment.