A couple things happened tonight that really got me thinking.
Let me start by saying that I am the type of person that always likes to have my camera on me and I hate missing out on an opportunity for a great photo. For example, missing an impressive sunset or not having my camera available when a moose walks thirty feet in front of me.
Both of those events happened tonight, and my camera missed them both.
As I was walking up the familiar street to my old home in Breckenridge, the sun was setting over the small ski town. This place pretty much always throws down a fabulous sunset but man was it on point tonight. Honestly the amazing sunsets were one of my favorite parts about living here. As I watched in awe tonight as the clouds, the colors, the patterns and textures made art in the sky I could not help but smile. The road I was walking up overlooks the entire town, which is encompassed by mountains on all sides. I did not have my camera on me, and even if I had run all the way to the condo and grabbed it and ran back, I would have missed it all. A photo of this sunset would have made a popular post on Instagram, I was sure of that. After having that thought, I had a realization. The number of people, mostly tourists, who would be “instagramming” this same sunset tonight, was far too many. I did not need to be a part of that incredibly mainstream social media output. Not only that, but I decided it was more beneficial for me to stop, breathe and experience the spectrum of beautiful colors dancing across the sky, hold this experience close to me, and not share it with anybody else. This place is very special to me, and now I have this moment to hold onto that nobody else got to experience in the same way I did. That was more important than 100 “likes” on Instagram.
I continued walking and arrived at the parking lot to the condo. I crossed the street and stood at one of my favorite spots, where a dirt trail takes you down to town “the steep way”. This is a pretty great place to look over Breckenridge and appreciate the immensity of the mountains all around. The tail end of the sunset was approaching, the lingering colors were settling down and the cotton ball clouds were a golden yellow. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath. I heard some rustling and opened my eyes, assuming somebody was walking up the path, looking at me standing like a weirdo with my eyes closed. I didn’t see anybody but I heard some more rustling below, and then a moose appeared from behind a bush. The big guy continued walking up the hill towards me, less than thirty feet away. I was the only person around. I went to grab my phone out of my pocket so I could take a snap chat video, as any millennial would do. As soon as I typed my passcode in, my phone died. Perfect. For a second I contemplated running to get my camera, but I knew I didn’t have time, and before I knew it the moose was walking away back into the forest.
After this moment passed, I decided I was bothered by my instinctual reaction to grab my cell phone and take a video of this beautiful and semi-rare appearance of the moose. It bothered me that I felt so caught up in this world that cares more about a social media post than a real moment in time.
We are losing touch with the beauty of individual moments, and with thousands maybe millions of us chasing fake Pokemon creatures around, running into telephone poles with our phone screens attached to our faces, I wonder how many purely beautiful and natural moments have been missed because of the synthetic relationships us humans have with our devices. When did this world become filled with so many un-authentic forms of happiness, and how do we snap back to reality and teach younger generations the beauty and importance of technological abstinence?
Five to ten years ago, we would of had to wait until we got home or until we got to school or work the next day to tell our mom and dad, our college roommate, boyfriend or girlfriend, co-workers or friends about our cool moose encounter or our beautiful sunset moment. Maybe we would have taken a photo of the moose and had to get it developed or send it in an email to somebody. We would have experienced the cool and rare moment that we were a part of by ourselves and appreciated that specific moment as it was happening. Today, the first thing we do when anything happens is pull out our phones to Snapchat, Instagram, Tweet or Facebook the moment. If a photo didn’t make it on istagram or a video didn’t appear in your snap chat story, did the moment actually happen?
How sad is it that we have lost touch with experiencing pure moments and appreciating them for ourselves. Seeing a moose is amazing whether or not the rest of the world knows you saw it. Watching a breathtaking sunset is just as beautiful whether or not social media knows it happened.
So next time you experience a really great moment in your life, try really hard to not immediately put your hand in your pocket and grab your phone. Try really hard not think about how many “likes” you will get and instead take a deep breath and really appreciate this specific moment in time, because whether or not snap chat knows it or not, you are so incredibly lucky to be where you are right now.