Since I haven’t been hiking in about a month, I decided to get out there this morning and go for an hour walk alone. This time, however, I decided not to take my camera along with me. I wanted to focus on where I was and just be in the moment. We’re all so focused on capturing every moment of our lives through social media, cameras, recorders, and who knows what else and forget to really notice what’s going on around us. We’re not really paying attention to our surroundings, really feeling, seeing, and smelling. We just look at something and think “Oh, I would like to share this,” and so we do. But do we truly look at something and really ponder why we like it or let it reverberate through us till the tips of our bodies tremble with emotion?
It’s hard to get away from all the technology and social media that surrounds us on a daily basis. When I went for my walk this morning, it felt really weird to not stop and snap a picture every now and then when I saw a picturesque moment. I kept stopping and thinking “If only I had my camera right now, this would make a great picture to share with everyone!” By the end of my walk, however, I had forgotten my camera blues and felt refreshed after just walking and noticing the flowers, the river, the trees, everything that was around me. I didn’t really care that I didn’t have a picture of that particular flower or an August photo of my favorite stops along the way. I was just happy and thankful to be alive.
A few months ago, I went to see the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller and Sean Penn. At the end of the movie when Walter Mitty finally catches up with Life’s star photographer, he learns the most important lessen of all: That while you chase certain moments in life, when you finally get there, you realize it’s just better to live in the moment rather than just focusing on capturing it.
It’s a great life lessen and one that I hope to indulge in more often in the future.