Impermanence

Camera and polaroid pictures

I love taking pictures, but the underlying reason is a sad one. I have this fear of impermanence—I feel like I am nothing more than a fleeting presence that wafts about from place to place and I have to scrounge up as many memories as I can and produce them on a camera screen. Basically, if I go somewhere new, I tell myself “I might never get this opportunity to be here again!” and proceed to take infinite amounts of photos. It’s quite frustrating that I spend more time feeling sad about missing that place or event once it is over (while I’m still there!)  than actually feeling happy and soaking in every second of the whole experience. I despise that I see more of a breathtaking sight from a distant view of a small camera lens than with my own eyes—I hate it, yet I feel like it is mandatory. I hate that I feel like it is a stressful thing to hold onto my memories; I am a very forgetful person by nature and snapping photos feels almost like a sure-fire way that my hippocampus will sort that memory into the long-term filing cabinet.

However, the truth of the matter is that it’s more important to live each moment to the fullest. I think I would feel better if I remember a memory in which I had so much fun because I was fully present, physically and mentally, as compared to remembering that I was in a pretty place and all I did was take photos. It’s a taxing duty to try taking the perfect photos, you know—and for what? A moment of glory for a hundred likes on instagram? Most of the time, I do not even look back at them. They just take up data on my phone and I try to avoid thinking about what I will do with them when it’s time to clear up space. I have to get over this fear that I’ll never be able to return or whatever happened won’t happen again. If I share a special moment with wonderful  company, then those people and I will have the rest of our lives to reminisce over that experience. If I go to a place that bears great importance to me, I will make it my mission to return, whether in the near future or later on in life. I have learned that traveling is worth every penny and even if I am a broke-ass nobody when I grow older, I’ll get there.

So it’s time yet again for another change. It’s vital to my soul to reevaluate my life from time to time and to try and tinker with the things that bring me down. Unfortunately, my approach to memorable experiences take too much of a mental toll on me. I am a sucker for beautiful photos but I think that it would be so much more rewarding if I put my phone down for a while and capture every little speck of the moment with the best, highest-quality camera that God has blessed me with.

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