Documenting Our Life Away

Documentation Nation

We live in a day and age of advanced technology. All around us we have multiple ways of documenting our lives. We can take photos, film videos and record sounds, and do it all from our phones, which are small enough to be neatly tucked in our pockets.

But sometimes, all this technology can get out of hand.

If you’ll be busy with the image, you will have lost that moment for ever.

I remember being on a school trip in high school, and my dad joined us. Everyone was busy taking pictures of the sights we saw with their (then film) cameras. But since my dad was the one with camera, I found myself totally free to enjoy the scenery. I felt as if everyone around me was busy documenting the moment, while I was the only one living it. I recall that being the first time I ever felt this.

As you can imagine, this problem has only gotten much, much worse since then. We all take endless photos, which drown in our endless storage space in our phones. If in the past people used to print out the few images they took and put together an album that would stand the test of time, today we don’t even do that. It’s just an endless stream of media, uploaded to Facebook or Instagram, with no real emotional attachment.

Now, I’m no Ludite. I truly believe that technology makes our lives better, but I think there’s room for some moderation.

If You’re With Your Kids – Don’t Take So Many Pics

The moments are fleeting and short, and if you’ll be busy with the image, or worse yet – upset with the kids for not smiling and giving you the best ‘facebook album I can show everyone’ images, you will have lost that moment for ever.

When you’re with your kids, just live through the moment. Our memories are all we truly have. If the Facebook image represents a fake moment, we’ll know that in our heart. Better not have an image, than to have one that represents a lie.

This reminds me of a confession one of the mommy-bloggers once made, about how much time, effort and anger went into her ‘spontaneous’ photo shoot of kids on the beach. She eventually felt like she was living a lie. The images represented pain, not happiness. They represented work, not play.

Images are important because without them we will probably forget most things, but one or two images are more than enough. Don’t make it all about the documentation. Another good idea I’ve heard is to make a big deal about printing your images, so that you have a ‘bank’ where all the memories are properly stored. This way, after you take one photo for the album, you can relax and then let yourself just be in the moment.

If we just try a little bit more to be present in the moments and spend a little less time documenting our lives, I’m sure we will find more joy in our kids, and ultimately, in ourselves.