Live In The Moment

As You Capture Each Moment, Make Sure To Live In It

Look up from the screen and enjoy this beautiful thing called life.

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Too many times I find myself absorbed in the array of photos in my camera roll. All which consist of the 50 selfies from that time I was feelin' myself, photos from a night out, occasional food shots, and more importantly, the infinite pictures of my dogs. If you're reading this and you're anything like me, then you know a place to store all your pictures has become a necessity.

Let me introduce you to today's world, where society has grown so accustomed to the luxury of the technologies we've been given. Making it so easy for us to simply take out our phones and snap a quick pic while storing thousands of photos along the way. As convenient as this is, there's a chance we can get too caught up in our social media image instead of the world around us.

This struck me firsthand as I eagerly awaited seeing my favorite artist. I sat there patiently waiting out the opening act amongst a crowd of thousands. Then finally, the main event began. But I was too busy unlocking my phone that I missed the grand entry. All for what? To record a shaky video with an inaudible blaring noise in the background that'll sit buried deep within my camera roll since it's too pathetic for social media.

I tried to create these "moments" while forgetting where to find real ones.

Rewind to the days of the authentic old school cameras, where moments were cherished as we captured them. There wasn't an option for filters or any pressure to upload these pictures anywhere. They were raw, candid and perfect — only ours to admire. We didn't have the luxury like today, as we click over 20 plus pictures a minute and yet still aren't satisfied. It's true we've been given the opportunity to capture every moment. Still, we stay stuck in a digital world that tries to live a better life than we actually have.

But as we face reality, who doesn't love a great picture? I've learned to take a step back and at least take in what the day has to offer before my own eyes. There's significance in putting your phone down once in a while and looking at a view that isn't blocked by a screen. We only have one chance at life, so don't waste it living through the platform you've built for yourself on social media. The world we live in is real and the raw sight of life is an amazing view.

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When God Gives A Girl A Brother

He gives her a best friend.
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My brother is only 18 months younger than I am, but he's also at least a foot taller than me. Growing up with someone so close to my age has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Yes, there was a time when I thought every single little thing he did was annoying and his feelings towards me were mutual. Yes, we still get into arguments and disagreements. But for the most part, we enjoy each others company. When God gives a girl a brother, He gives her...

1. A listener

I always have someone to talk to. No matter what, when, or where. Some of my favorite moments are spent chatting my brother's ears off while he absent-mindedly nods and continues to play x-box. Sometimes he just listens and doesn't say anything. Sometimes he gives me long replies. He always knows just how to react to what I am saying to him, which is why I tell him almost everything.

2. A protector

When I think about the man that my brother has become, it seriously brings tears to my eyes. He's so big!! How did this happen? I can remember when I was little and could boss him around and he would actually do whatever I said. Now I'm scared that if he hugs me too hard, I might break in half. My brother cares about me, and lets me know it. I'm so thankful to know that he is there for me no matter what and would do anything to keep me from harm.

3. A dance partner

Another favorite memory is dancing to Juju on that beat in the kitchen while mom is cooking dinner (or dancing with us). Or any other time any other song is on... in any other place... LOL. My brother and I are different in a lot of ways, but we both have no problem busting a move together.

4. A Sonic date

"Hey, wanna go get a sonic drink?" "Yeah, if you're buying!" This is a typical conversation for us, and he actually really does usually buy my food! (With mom's credit card sometimes, does that still count?)

5. An example

Being the older sister, I sometimes feel like I have let my brother down in a lot of ways in that he is probably an example to me more than I am to him. He is incredibly smart, talented, and hard working. Kids FLOCK to this guy, and he has the most creative mind ever. Seriously, I'm so nervous that my future kids are going to like their funny uncle more than me. He's way cooler than I am, and I want to be just like him when I grow up.

6. Comic relief

If you've never heard a "Lane Prevett story," pull up a chair. I will be glad to make you cry from laughing so hard. There's no way you can spend time with him and not laugh. And that, to me, is the best kind of person to be.

7. A best friend

My brother is a lot of things, but my favorite thing about him is that he is my best friend. Yes, we aggravate each other. Sometimes he plays his music too loud, and sometimes I take up all the internet so that he can't play video games. But I know that he would do anything for me, and he knows the same goes for him.

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I Limited My Social Media Usage And I Challenge You To, Too

My worth is not defined by the amount of likes I get.

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Every morning at 8 a.m., my alarm goes off, I roll over, and the first thing I do is check my Snapchat only to open a bunch of pictures of the top of someone's head, or the wall, or — my favorite — a black screen. This is something we're all guilty of, myself included. We all know that social media is becoming an addiction amongst us, so why do we still use them in an unhealthy way? Why are our friendships defined by who has the longest streak? Why are our perceptions of others based on the most perfectly posed presentations of people? Why is our self-worth dependent on the number of double taps or shares or comments?

My world used to revolve around social media.

Every time I posted a picture on Instagram, I would constantly refresh to see how many likes I had accumulated. The worst part about that is I would get upset if I didn't get any likes in the seconds between each refresh.

If I got bored or had some downtime between classes, I would spend hours just scrolling through the same posts, hoping to find something different.

So much of my life was wrapped up in the superficiality of social media posts to the point where I no longer knew who I was. I would see pictures of my friends who ended up at the same college and feel left out, I would see girls from high school joining sororities, I would see people looking so stunning and having so much fun, and I let that be the thing that influenced how I felt.

Social media consumed me. It made me forget all the wonderful things I have in my life. It made me value a photo opportunity more than just enjoying the moment for what it is. Let me tell you that a moment is no less valuable just because it isn't visually appealing.

I've recently started using the Screen Time feature on my iPhone. I set a two hour per day limit on my social media usage, and when that time is up, I can no longer open the apps. Since then, I've been spending more time face-to-face with the people I care about. I've reconnected with old hobbies. I feel less stressed. I stopped comparing myself to others. I learned to be happy with myself.

I limit my social media usage because all the time I've spent aimlessly scrolling through Instagram is time I could've spent going for a walk and enjoying the warmth of Spring.

I limit my social media usage because I value face-to-face interaction. I value hugs and laughter and all the other things you can't get from a screen.

I limit my social media usage because it hurts my feelings when other people are on their phones when I'm trying to talk to them so how can it be right that I do that to someone else?

I think about how dependent on social media we have become, and it makes me so grateful that the sun is too bright to see our phone screens outside and that the mountains raise too high to have good cell service. I'm grateful that my friends make me laugh so hard that I don't even think to check my phone.

So, I challenge you to separate yourself from your social media. Even if it's just for a day. See how your life changes.

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