I was watching a segment on 60 Minutes about Paul McCartney. It was interesting and funny, and though I was a little too young to be an original Beatles fan, I grew up listening to their music, since my sister was a teenager at their height of fame.
Of all the things he talked about, the one that struck me most was what he says when someone wants to take a photo with him.
“I’m sorry, I don’t do selfies. But I’ll be happy to have a chat for a few minutes.”
Do you think anyone ever turns down that offer?
“No thanks, Paul - I really just wanted a photo.”
Are we forgetting how to be in the moment while we’re constantly trying to capture that moment in a photo? I think I have to a point, and though I won’t call it a New Year’s resolution, I have promised myself to recognize what I'm feeling in that moment instead of what a good shot it will make for social media.
When our youngest daughter was graduating from college, our whole family lined up in a row of seats that were too far from the podium to warrant a decent photo with a phone camera. Like the ever-accommodating person he is, our son-in-law had packed a ‘real’ camera for the occasion, knowing I was hoping someone could capture the moment she received her diploma.
He spent the first 19 letters of the alphabet adjusting for the shot. When the time came and she swept across the stage, my eyes were filled with joy and pride. Immediately after, from a few seats down I heard our son-in-law groan, “I missed it.”
He wasn’t talking about the picture. He was talking about the exact moment our daughter accepted her diploma. He didn’t see it because he was putting so much effort into trying to get the shot. There was nothing I could do to fix it… there was no getting that moment back.
Last week I was driving home from work and errands, and I happened to catch a breathtaking sunset. For a few seconds my thoughts went to, “I wish I could get a picture of that.” I reminded myself instead to take in the stunning view. Driving toward orange cream and cerulean hues, I felt a physical lightness in my chest. I felt myself smile. I felt the moment.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop taking pictures of times I want to remember - or just snap for the sake of sharing. After all, I have an Instagram account and two cats. And naturally, when my family is all together (for instance, at Christmas), I can guarantee there will be at least one photo of our gang posted somewhere.
It does mean that in 2019 I hope you and I find ourselves more aware of what we might miss when we decide to try and save it in a picture. Nobody else is going to breathe in the sweetness of the ocean breeze or mountain air through a photo. Only you will have experienced the rush of emotions in that exact moment.
My friends, my wish for you is a year of moments that don’t make it to your photo gallery... because you choose to let them take your breath away, make you smile or even cry, and feed your heart and soul.