If you’re an average person, you would notice that we are a society that is obsessed with technology but if you do not know that, you’re obviously living under a rock.
We are obsessed with technology especially with the piece of metal with a screen in our hands right now called the smartphone. In that smartphone, we keep all kinds of things from grocery lists to a fitness tracker and even to our most sensitive piece of information, our bank accounts. Also, within that smartphone holds our memories, memories in the form of pictures.
Pictures speak a thousand words and it is not short of the truth. Pictures act like triggers for our memories. Looking at a picture especially one taken by you enables you to recall memories long forgotten by your conscious mind. By looking at pictures, we are able to remember what happened before, during and after the picture was taken. Don’t trust me? Try it. Scroll through your phone and look at a picture that you took, now, do some memories began to appear in your mind? That is precisely the power of a picture. However, what if I tell you that one day, you wake up to find all the pictures in your phone deleted? What if all the memories that you have kept for years and years in the form of digitalised information just disappeared?
That was precisely what happened to me but instead of the pictures disappearing suddenly, I deleted them without checking whether they were backed up. Immediately after I realised what happened, a heavy feeling of dread and regret overcame me. I was lost, not knowing what to do. It felt as if a part of my memory was taken away from me, burned and turned into ash, unrecognisable. I began to furiously search a way to retrieve the deleted files but after trying several methods, it was futile. That whole afternoon, I just felt lost and agitated. It was not a good experience.
If you do not know me, I cherish my memories a lot especially in the form of pictures. They are a part of me. They are a part of who I am today. Each picture holds a special memory which upon looking reminds me of what happened during the period it was taken. That was why it affected me greatly when they were deleted.
However, as I sat down to think about this incident, I realised that I should not focus too much on taking pictures but instead focus more on the experiences leading up and surrounding of taking a picture.
Pictures are important as it helps to document our lives, assist in memory recollection and enable us to see our growth with time. They also help in capturing events that will never happen again like a birth of a child or a loved one’s graduation. However, most of us are living lives where we prioritise taking pictures over experiencing the present. I’m sure all of us are guilty of it, for example, we prioritise taking a picture of a sunset over sitting down and enjoying the view or we prioritise taking a picture of the mountains over feeling the cold wind on our skin and being mesmerised by the grandness of it all.
I understand the urge to capture a beautiful moment just so we can live it again later but what will we remember if we do not experience the moment first? A good example can be concerts. I have seen countless times whereby people will take out their phones to take pictures or record videos of a concert that they paid so much for. I do not understand why would they waste money on some digitalised information on their phones instead of actually living the moment, enjoying the music and the atmosphere. It is a problem that most of us are not aware of.
Therefore, we need to break this habit.
I can suggest that we become more conscious of our actions. By being more conscious, we can stop ourselves from trying to ruin an amazing experience.
I know that it is hard to suppress the urge of taking out our phones when we see a beautiful view but we have to begin somewhere.
Going back to my experience with deletion, I came to a conclusion that if I had lived those moments better, I would not have felt as much dread as I did. Those memories would have been etched much more deeply in my memory and I would not have to rely on pictures to relive them. It was a painful lesson but one that I will benefit a lot from.
Therefore, instead of pulling out our phones whenever we see an Insta-worthy moment, let us instead take a deep breath and live the moment.