As I've continually bragged about, I went to see The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last week. I've been a fan since I was a kid (when it was Jay Leno), so seeing it live was beyond cool for me. I liked Jay, but I loooooooove Jimmy.
At the risk of sounding dramatic (when do I not?), it was a really sacred moment for me.
The Tonight Show has been a part of my life for so long, and seeing it in real time was just awesome.
I loved it for a million reasons, but one of my favorite parts about it was there were absolutely no cell phones allowed. This is for obvious reasons. It would hugely interfere with taping.
While I enjoy what I can access from my phone, I also can easily live without it. I keep it on silent most days and sometimes intentionally leave it at home when I go out with my kids.
Yet I find that I still feel the need to photograph every happening in my life.
Not being able to photograph or video any happenings of The Tonight Show enabled me to fully soak in the experience. Rather than share it with my FB friends, I totally lived in the moment. It was so much better. And it's an experience I will continue.
In the last year or so, I actually have started cutting back on how many pictures I take. Pictures of birthday parties and Christmas are never really that great. Instead of missing the whole event as it happens, I take 5-6 pictures.....then put my camera down.
Having 5 pictures or 45 pictures is really not that much different. I can easily capture the entire event in a small number of prints. Pictures from parties are usually not frame-worthy, so besides having some to go into my kids' albums to chronicle the event, the quantity isn't that important.
The same goes for dinners out with friends. Camera phone pictures from a server are rarely good. Unless it's an important event (like a friend is moving away), I choose to keep my camera in my purse.
I love photographs, and I enjoy capturing moments to remember for a long time to come. I confess to being ridiculous with photographs. Without them, there would be many things I would have forgotten. And as my kids grow, I love looking back on their early childhood.
So I will never stop taking pictures.
Yet I feel like over-photographing life is causing everyone to miss the moments that matter.
When friends post videos from a cool concert they're at, the video never captures the experience. I could YouTube a higher quality video with the same set, yet it causes the person videoing to miss out on the incredible concert experience.
With my kids' performances, this is a struggle for me. I feel like videoing it makes me miss the moment, but we all love to rewatch the videos for years to come. So I am not saying don't photograph and video events. I am just saying be mindful of what you're doing.
And I'm talking mostly to myself.
Living in the moment is so much richer than perusing through photo albums.
The memory may not stay with you forever, but what the experience does to you will.
I may not remember every craft my children made or every song they sang or every sporting event, but I know I will never forget the laughter, fun, wild times, and just overall awesomeness of their childhood.
Still take pictures. Still film videos.
But be present in the now. Put the camera down and soak in the moment.