Capturing the Moment or Living in the Moment?

For the past two days, I've been on safari. Took a million photos of course. Yesterday at Ngorongoro Crater, we stopped at this breathtakingly gorgeous spot for lunch by the water. Everyone was out with their cameras.They were so busy with their pictures that they missed out on the birds serenading us. And the ibises swimming in unison. And the hippo raising his head up slightly ever so often. I'm guilty of this too, but I always try to make a conscious effort to put away the camera after a while and just take it all in. Or just do like I do and let someone else capture the moment for you.

This got me thinking though. Why do we live in an age where capturing every single moment of our lives has become so precedent to actually being in the moment? When exactly did it begin? With Myspace? Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat? I think it began with the combination of smartphones and social media. Maybe something about getting likes and recognition from strangers, friends, and family gives us some form of validation. 

Or maybe we feel that if we don't have a photo, we won't have the memory. I can admit I feel this way sometimes. I love having mementos. I love making memories and having records of it. I love photography, photo albums, scrapbooks. And I don't feel there is anything wrong with this. 

I guess the best solution for me is to have balance. Take pictures, make record of the experience. But also make sure to enjoy and revel in the experience. 

I realized I started doing this years ago without really thinking about it. I was spending a summer interning in London. I remember walking in Leicester Square and trying to permanently mark every detail into my memory. I literally said outloud to myself "remember this moment." And I always have. If I close my eyes right now, I can put myself back there on that exact street corner facing the square. And from time to time when I'm in the mood to reminisce I do. 

And to me, that is priceless.