You Can’t Instagram Life

I wanted to walk the streets of Seattle photographing everything. The homeless laying on the sidewalks, the way they dress here the Starbucks on every block, the totem pole in Pike Place, the rainbow colored crosswalk, the Space Needle. Instead, I shoot some things from inside a moving vehicle because these sights are ordinary to my family and I’m trying so hard not to be ‘that’ person (again).

Walking the streets of the small town of Snohomish I remind myself life is more than snapshots. I try to convince myself you can’t be in the moment from behind the lens.

But…these are my memories. Photographs of family are among my most cherished possessions. I think about how mama’s memory was stolen from her so these photographs will be important as age cast long shadows over my memories.

It seems I can’t have both and neither one do I want to let go. I want the snapshots I’ll later put in another photo book. Yet I don’t want to think about photos at all. I want to just be there, soaking in the moment.

There was a time the choice was made for us. Telephones were held down by cables and wires and didn’t leave the roof of our homes. Cameras required film and you couldn’t delete before printing. There was a financial cost to be paid if you were to snap freely as we do today, or to call out of your area code.

I wonder if the cost we pay today is with ourselves?

The acronym is FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. I think I have it. In my efforts not to miss a moment am I missing investing in those around me?

So I leave the big camera in the car, the phone in my purse and I join those around me. I make eye contact with the waiter, use his name when saying thank you.

When we visit our daughter’s house I notice the way the granddaughter sits cuddled up to her daddy on the sofa. I try to remember the names of our daughter’s co-workers, the ones I’ve never met. I remind myself being present is about others and not me. We take turns as if we’re on a child’s see-saw; I’m present for you and you’re here for me. Up and down it goes with the occasional bumps and stalls because we’ve chosen to take this ride together.

There will be time for photos. But every picture needs a story and every good story paints a picture.

10 Comments

  1. I have to say I love, love, love this post, Debby. I’ve been putting my camera away more because I too realize that I’m viewing life through its lens and evaluating everything for its photo op instead of savoring the moment with not just my eyes, but my heart. Yes, photos help us recall those special moments, but they don’t replace the look in my loved ones’ eyes when I only have eyes for them.

    June 6, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      It’s so hard when we have granddaughters as cute as ours, isn’t it Cindy? But I think you’re right how they need to see our eyes are for them.

      June 6, 2017
      Reply
  2. Gabriele said:

    Your daughter lives in my neck of the woods. The best stories are made with full engagement. I think of how I wish my husband would take the pictures of our stories so that I could be engaged. But, truth be told I would probably be less than enthusiastic about his view through the camera.

    June 6, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Are you in the northwest Gabriele? It’s actually my sister up there. I confess, I did take a photo walk through her neighborhood one day to snap all the beautiful flowers up there. I get it about your husband taking the photos. Mine too. He’s good, but our focus seems to be different. Very different 😉

      June 6, 2017
      Reply
  3. Annie Rim said:

    I’ve been keeping my phone inside more as we bike around the neighborhood or play out front. I definitely miss some cute photos but there is something so important about being fully present…. Thanks for this reminder, Debby!

    June 6, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Not easy is it Annie? There are so many photo ops at that age especially.

      June 6, 2017
      Reply
  4. Lesley said:

    It’s not an easy balance to get. It’s nice to have photos to look back on, but we can definitely miss out on a lot if that’s all we’re thinking about instead of being present in the situation. I loved seeing the photo of the music cake though- I’m glad you took that one! 🙂

    June 7, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      My niece started piano lessons a few years ago and now accompanies her sister singing at times. The cake was her request and the baker did a superb job. Couldn’t pass up the happy occasion. Glad you enjoyed it too Lesley.

      June 7, 2017
      Reply
  5. Debby,
    I love the last line of this post! It’s always a juggle between being the photographer and putting the camera down to enjoy the place firsthand, isn’t it? Although I find sometimes I look at a scene as if framing it for a photo and sometimes that’s more fun! xo

    June 8, 2017
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      I think in framing scenes sometimes too, Valerie. Looks like I’m in good company 🙂 I had trouble linking up with Holley’s blog this week so I’m glad you made your way here.

      June 8, 2017
      Reply

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