Put your iPhone away and get in the moment! (Maybe)
I was watching the final round of the PGA golf tournament from Bethpage a few weeks ago and rather than marveling upon the awesome display of Brooks Koepka (the new Tiger Woods?), I unfortunately got hooked into watching the crowd… who were watching him. Kind of! You see, they actually weren’t watching him at all…
I remember one particular moment just after Koepka had hit a wayward drive into the gallery - he found himself surrounded by hordes of people as he prepared to hit his next shot (back onto the fairway). Security and event staff cleared a space for him as he set up to shoot. But rather then paying attention to him, I found myself drawn to the wall of iPhones that surrounded him as fans tried to capture the moment. I began to wonder whether it’s actually a good thing for us to be (always) “armed” with the tools (a phone!) to capture those picture-perfect moments.
In my opinion, the Bethpage crowd - who had paid good money and traveled far and wide to be there - were actually missing the moment. Which is kind of odd if you think about it, because isn’t the whole idea of going to see something... to experience that thing? I mean I’m sure plenty would argue that they saw exactly what was going on, but if you’re messing around with a phone then you aren’t really there. That was the time to put the iPhone down and simply enjoy... the experience.
The first time I felt like this was when I went to the Grand Canyon many years ago. This was a very long time ago in a galaxy far far away when Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and in fact even cell phones didn’t exist. As the tourists arrived they couldn’t get their cameras out quick enough to start snapping photos! All I was thinking was “put the bloody things away, just enjoy the view, breathe in the air, feel the ground beneath your feet, GET INTO THE MOMENT FOR GOODNESS SAKE!”
But then… a few days ago I saw my friend Jen and she told me that taking photos helps her tremendously in lowering anxiety and increasing focus. (And boy does Jen take a lot of (very good) photos.) So that got me re-assessing my somewhat anti-photo stance. After a little bit of thought, I concluded: well how can taking photos not help you? What better thing to do then go for a nice walk somewhere, appreciating all the beauty that surrounds you, and then using your camera to focus in upon it. Often times utter beauty lies in the most unexpected of places. (A simple wild flower growing through a crack in the pavement.)
So in writing this blog I feel like I’ve done a complete 360. And of course I realize that people like to make their own memories in an age when posting on social media has become “de rigueur”. So I hope I haven’t confused you all too much, but I’m sure you all appreciate what I mean: it’s all about getting the correct balance and just giving yourself that opportunity to wonder and simply be there.
And finally I must say before I go, that it hasn’t been lost on me the irony of reading an article on an iPhone telling you to put the iPhone down! Bye for now. C. :o)
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