The Photos That Robbed Me
In February, I departed for an adventure of a lifetime. My brother and I spent two weeks traveling New Zealand before heading to Australia for six months. Our time in New Zealand was incredible. The landscape and hikes were amongst the most beautiful I had ever seen. My brother and I took so many pictures and videos and we planned on cherishing them for the rest of our lives.
I absolutely LOVE taking pictures. I take pictures of everything as if taking a photo of it will somehow give me a free ticket to relive that experience. Throughout the trip, I often found myself worrying about what we were going to do next. I fell into the trap of using my phone to record my experiences, rather than allowing my body to let go of the hustle-and-bustle attitude and live in the present moment. I did not want to ‘waste’ time being somewhere too long. Taking a photo seemed like a quick and easy way to get in and out of somewhere.
Some of the friends I met on the road reminded me of my picture taking habits. They were making fun of all the tourists who only seemed to see everything behind the screen of their phone. While there is nothing wrong with taking photos, I take lots of them; I learned some of the consequences the hard way.
Two days after I returned home from Australia, my phone had a small mechanical issue. The toggle switch on the left-side was stuck. I went to the Apple Store, and they said they could give me a new phone. To preserve all my photos and data, I uploaded everything to my iCloud – or so I thought.
That evening, I went home very excited to show my parents all of the pictures I had taken on my adventure. However, I went to my photos and found NOTHING. It turns out that the iCloud upload did not go as planned. The photos did not end up saving; I lost everything from my past six months of travel. I cried. I cried a lot. Thousands of photos – GONE!
I felt like I had been robbed, robbed of the moments that I had captured behind a screen. I began to realize the power of living and feeling in the present. Certainly, I still had many amazing memories, but many were tainted by trying to capture those moments through my phone.
Life is filled with infinite important moments. In my opinion, these moments seem to be the most special when you know they cannot be relived. A picture cannot capture those feelings from within during those special moments.
While it was devastating to lose those photos, I learned the power of living in the moment. In today’s world, phones make it so easy to take pictures anytime, anywhere. Chances are, we are probably all guilty of taking moments for granted. It can be so easy! Therefore, it is so important to remind ourselves to sit back, take in every sense of the experience, and enjoy the ride!
Here are some suggestions that help me live in the present moment (Dixit, 2008). Try one or two of these this week. If you are like me, you might be amazed at the effect these can have on your life!
- Savor moments – From eating a cookie to having a meeting, take it all in.
- To make the most of the time, lose track of it – Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, stay focused so that distractions cannot penetrate. Focus on the why or what you are doing.
- If something is bothering you, move toward it rather than away from it – If you are feeling a particular negative feeling, accept that feeling, label it, and direct your attention to something else. Thoughts are just thoughts. You do not have to do what they say.
- Don’t just do something, sit there – Take at least 5 minutes out of your day to be mindful. Sit back and breathe. Become aware of your immediate experience of sitting in your chair, being with your students, chatting with your colleagues, etc.
- Take photos wisely – Take a picture free day every once in a while. Encourage yourself and others to put the phone down.
Sources: Dixit, J. (2008). The art of now: Six steps to living in the moment. Psychology Today, 41, 62-69.
*Meet the Author*
Launa Kressin has been with Leadership Inspirations since 2014. She graduated from Chapman University with a major in communication studies and a double minor in Music and Leadership Studies.
Favorite Quote: “You only regret the things you don’t do.” – Gary Vee
Fun Facts: 1) I love traveling and seeing new places. I have been fortunate to travel around Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North America, and Australia, to name a few 2) I have a business where I teach private violin and viola lessons. I love music! 3) Last summer, I hiked Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the continental United States)