Put Your Camera Away

August 10, 2012

So many things in life fall into this category—events you simply cannot bottle for later—like the birth of a child, the funeral of a loved one, a sunset, the presentation and enjoyment of a great meal, a surprise party, a concert, climbing out of a cold tent in the mountains and restoking the campfire as you watch the sun come up, sifting through the rubble of a flood or a fire, kissing your daughter’s forehead as the nurses wheel her off to surgery, asking your girlfriend to marry you, or watching a thunderstorm roll in.

In our amazing era of digital immediacy, I can tell the world where I am and what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I can present myself as a busy man living a rich and full life. I can take pictures of my meals, log my locations, snap photos of the people I’m with, and weigh in on what’s happening around the globe 140 characters at a time. But none of these things mean I’ve been paying attention.

The degree to which we are able to be present in the moment, psychologists say, is one of the chief indicators of mental health and security in our personal identity. I can buy that. And I would submit that this takes a lot of courage.

You can read the whole thing here.

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