Rule#92: Forget the selfie
In life I think we all have bucket list, things that we would like to do before our time runs out. In my case it includes such things as drinking at Oktoberfest in Germany, riding the Orient Express and taking a cooking class at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. They are experiences that I want to have memories of, and likely will not take a single selfie while doing it. I want to be focused on tasting the stein of bier, and maybe the attractive Kellnerin bringing 4 liters at a time to the tables. I want to be present in those moments, so that they become memories and not just Facebook posts.
When the Pope visited Philadelphia last year I watch in amazement as people came close to the Pope turned to have their face in a picture, with the Pontiff in the background. They were not experiencing the moment or feeling, they were focused on having a great Facebook post. It was a once in a lifetime moment for most of the people there, and except for the image in the i-phone many people didn’t experience it fully.
Don’t miss understand me, when Rachel goes to her prom I will be there taking the required 100-200 i-phone pictures and posting like the rest of the Archbishop Wood parents. But I want to make sure I experience the moment, and feel her happiness as she approaches graduation mile-markers like the prom. I want to experience the moment with her..not just the picture.
I think among the hundreds of ways that the Kardashin’s have ruined our culture, one that has been more damaging is obsession of getting in the selfie. The selfishness of everything in life being a photo-op has lead to a belief that we really don’t experience something unless we have a picture of it. Of course I believe the most damaging thing they have done is name that poor kid North, but that’s another rule for another day.
I have learned recently that being present is something that I have forgotten and that the selfie is reinforcing the loss of opportunity. When I go to watch Abby’s rugby match tomorrow I’m leaving the phone in the car, and focusing on experiencing the game. I think the obsession of proving we were there has made experiencing these moments more shallow- I think I can do better, and that we all can do better.
My father lead a remarkable life and visited over 100 countries, he had incredible stories about each place he visited. I think the fact that he didn’t have the pictures to share lead to him being able to retell the story..each time with more color and emotion. Yea, sure sometime the stories became larger than the truth, but they were his stories and the emotions were very real. I’m sort of glad I have the stories and not the pictures, it would somehow make the experiences smaller. He told me of his visit to the Egypt and riding a camel, I know the picture would make the story much less wonderful than my mental image of that moment.
I’m challenging myself to experience my bucket list, my family and my life in less detracted, non-selfie sort of way. I think it will make my experiences and relationships deeper and I don’t think the world will miss many of my Facebook posts.
But I do want to warn you that I’m not abandoning the pictures and there will be postings of Rachel’s prom, Stephen’s graduation and of course my grandchild. But there will be a few less as I work and I urge all my children to as well, to experience these wonderful moments more fully.