Living the Moments
April 14, 2014
This post was originally written for my friends over at thirtyone17. Their site is a charming, fabulous, unfiltered take on being a modern day Proverbs 31 woman. I wanted to share this post here as well, because the response it generated tells me I’m not the only one who struggles with what I shared, BUT I only repost it under the assumption you’ll read this and then immediately head over to their super awesome site. Capeesh?! (Or “capiche” if you’re fancy.)
Name the last 5 Instagram photos you saw on your news feed, in order, without cheating.
Can’t do it? Me either, even though I liked pretty much all of them.
It’s second nature to me when perusing the ‘gram.
Scroll. Double-tap. Repeat.
I spend about 1 second on each photo I scroll past, which is odd, considering the amount of time I spend filtering and captioning my own photos.
Toaster is way too red. The edges in X-Pro II are too dark. And why is Mayfair even an option? It does nothing. We’ll go with Lo-Fi again.
I don’t know about you, but I find myself thinking about life in terms of social media posts. Everything I do or see or hear is shareable.
My kids will do something cute so I reach for my phone to take a picture. My husband says something funny so I reach for my phone to tweet it. My hair is terrifying so I reach for my phone to SnapChat it. My friend and I embarrass ourselves in public so I reach for my phone to post it on Facebook.
I do a lot of reaching.
My husband and I had a friend come over a few months ago who spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at his phone. He was totally oblivious to what was happening around him.
It didn’t really bug me until our 2-year-old little boy, hereby known as one of the greatest humans alive, brought a toy over to show him. He started looking at the toy, realized their interaction was a cute photo-op, stopped looking at the toy, and instructed us to take their picture. He even actually fake pointed and laughed at something, to enhance the special-moment factor.
I was so furious I became flammable.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME. You haven’t spent two seconds with that little punkin, but you’re now interrupting this moment to post a picture like you’ve been having the time of your….”
And then it hit me.
It wasn’t until I saw our friend doing it to someone I love with all of my heart that I realized I was no different. I was totally convicted.
Do I not do that every. single. day?
Is that not what all my reaching is doing?
Pause this hilarious conversation with my kids. Pause this dinner with dear friends. Pause this time with my husband. Pause life, you guys, because I’ve got to share this moment, our moment, with a million other people. A million other people with the memory of a goldfish who will look at my photo or status or tweet for 1 second, smile, and immediately forget they ever saw it.
I realized that, ultimately, I had been interrupting the sanctity of intimate, face-to-face moments with special people for a quick ego boost from online acquaintances.
So this Lent season, I gave up social media during those moments. I’m off mostly during working hours, but also any time my boys are awake (yes, 26 with 2 kids…let’s all point and laugh) or any time I am spending with friends. I decided to put my phone away and be 100% intentionally engaged instead.
The difference it’s made has been shocking.
I still post #latergrams and delayed statuses throughout the day (HELLLOOO, NAP TIME), but it’s amazing what I deem shareable by that point. My list isn’t quite so long once some time has passed and I’m able to think, “No. This is a moment I keep between us.” or “Yes. This is break-the-internet funny/cute.”
I love (love love love) social media. I read about it, use it, and have accidentally become a public speaker about it. I love sharing life with people through 140 characters and a filtered thumbnail photo.
But, as I’m learning, there’s a fine line between sharing moments and living in the moment.
Because you and I both know it’s not just about the few seconds it takes to post something. It’s about the minutes and hours afterwards where it’s easy to become completely immersed in the feedback and conversations surrounding that post about that moment.
If you think about it, life is short. We really don’t have all that many moments.
Lent will be over soon, unfortunately, along with my resolution. (Or maybe fortunately if you were crazy enough to give up desserts or something.)
So here’s my hope and prayer going forward…and maybe, just maybe, you can relate:
I want to learn to be more grateful that I have people in my life sharing some of their precious moments with me, less concerned with sharing all of those moments with a whole lot of other people who probably won’t remember in 10 seconds, and the discernment to know the difference and timing on both.