My sisters have been telling me to get an Instagram for years.

But I refuse.

This isn’t some subtle indicator of being “above” the age of social media, or my acting completely naïve to it; I just think pictures have become the center of experiences. People need to take pictures while going out and doing something exciting.

While traveling or visiting friends or celebrating holidays, it’s fun to take pictures. And it’s necessary. We live in age where documentation is valued and is easily accomplished. I’m not denying what a gift photography is, but it has become an obsession.

There is an obvious difference between taking pictures to remember, and engaging in a new experience just so you can have a bunch of stuff to post and share. These pictures seem less about remembering events; they are the event itself.

If you can’t imagine a weekend spent doing something exciting without an album of pictures, you have likely missed the moment entirely. It’s no wonder live performances have such an effect on people. For two or three hours, the theater asks that you put your phones away and just allow yourself to enjoy the show. You aren’t distracted by the interruption of a camera, nagging you to document every little thing you see.

There’s value to an experience where you allow your mind to be fully engaged. Memories are valuable, but they can’t be formed through taking a thousand pictures just to remember something. Therein lies the irony. You want to remember what an exciting thing you saw or did. So you take pictures, again and again, to the point where the thing you’re trying to remember, you’re actually forgetting thanks to your distraction.

Let yourself be fully engaged in the experiences that surround you. It’s become an activity for people to sit around and take pictures of everything in sight and by the time that excessively long task is finished, the thrill and excitement of the event itself has likely dwindled.

I don’t want to scroll through all my photos and see every part of my life laid out. I want to be able to see a few snapshots of moments that I could talk endlessly about. So no, I don’t have countless pictures from every life event I’ve ever experienced. Nor will I be able to provide that for friends and family who want to follow me in a picture play-by-play.

But I’ll have my memory. And if someone asks about it, I’d be happy to talk endlessly about everything I saw, because I can guarantee you, the picture can’t speak for itself. You must be the one to do it.

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