This obsession with catching the moment– to snap and share — is making me a little crazy. The desire to show our friends and followers how our lives look seems to be more important than seeing our experiences as they are. As we search outside ourselves to find something insta-worthy, we’re losing the moment. We’re stuck staring at the glowing screen on our i-Phones which are quickly becoming the lens of how we view the world.
DH and I were talking about how this is effecting the music biz. The millennials aren’t buying much music these days because they’re more interested in buying an experience — like at Coachella. They’d rather spend their money on a ticket so they can show everyone their latest festival fashion.
And this mindset isn’t just millennial thinking.
I fall for it too.
Last week I wandered into a media blitz in Madison Square Park. It had fairies and glowing balloons corralling in a Cirque Du Soleil scenario. Immediately, I got phone-ready…I was going to get this moment! After positioning myself and repositioning myself, I realized it wouldn’t be easy…there were hundreds of others in my way, doing the same thing. It’s an epidemic.
There’s a scene in the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, when Ben Stiller’s character, Walter, is talking to adventure photographer Sean O’Connell. They are perched high in the Himalayas, O’Connell has been waiting to get his shot of the snow leopards. Finally, one arrives, but O’Connell doesn’t reach for his camera.
Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?
Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Walter Mitty: Stay in it?
Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.
Last month in DC, I experienced something similar — though not with snow leopards. It was with horses.
We were at my dad’s farm. GL and I were with him in the barn. After trying to show GL how to feed treats to Cal, his horse, my dad put his face right next to Cal’s nose. He gave kisses with the treats. I don’t see my dad too often, and I definitely don’t see him looking so happy, content.
I was cursing myself that I didn’t have my phone on me — this was absolutely a moment I wanted to capture. But I couldn’t. I had to absorb the moment, then let it go.
Who knows how that photo would have come out, often they’re blurry or not quite right. But my memory of this moment still sits crystal clear in my mind. By not fiddling with my camera, the experience gave me something richer than a photo– I got 100% presence to the situation.
It’s a huge compulsion to catch the moment — I get it all the time…trying to preserve that adorable thing my kid did, or share that amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge. But when it gets to the point that I’m no longer seeing the moment for what it truly has to offer…that’s when I need to put the camera down, and join the moment I’m trying to capture.
What do you do when faced with a camera-ready moment?