Last week I had a very busy weekend. It involved some precious time spent at a friends’ cottage, an 8-year-old’s rainbow loom and cupcake decorating birthday party, saying goodbye to my oldest niece and nephew as they traveled back to their homes in Israel, celebrating my in-laws’ anniversary at an extremely meaty restaurant (bone marrow anyone?) where I was obviously the only one who didn’t eat meat or nuts.
For the majority of the weekend, my phone was tucked inside my back pocket, and my camera was sitting in a safe place—tucked inside my camera bag.
Because I’m admittedly mostly
completely addicted to taking photos and to updating and checking all of my social media channels, those devices did make some appearances. I took a few great photos of great moments and I did tweet a couple of times. But for the most part, I was enjoying my husband, my children, my friends, my family. My phone is the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning—is there any news on Twitter, what’s the weather like today, any important emails come in during the night, did anyone like my last instagram photo. My phone is the last thing I check before I go to sleep at night—must imdb that guy from that show we just watched, must just finish this last level of Candy Crush, must finish this last chapter of Ghost Moth.
It’s a work-in-progress for sure, but I’m trying to live the moments, and not be hiding behind them. Isabella doesn’t need me shooting 85 iphone shots of her blowing out the eight candles on her cake—she’d rather have me sitting beside me, laughing and giggling along with her. Emily doesn’t want me instagramming 11 photos of her dance—she wants me watching, seeing how much her leg work has improved, how strong she has become. Josh wants me to tweet his latest Josh-ism, but not if it means I might miss him hitting a home run.
I’m trying to distinguish the difference—and to find a good balance—between LIVE AND LIVE.
Live, the verb. To live my life.
Live, the adverb. To broadcast my life live.
I want to spend more time doing the verb, and less time doing the adverb.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think smartphones are amazing inventions. I can do a ridiculous amount of important things on my phone—I can shop, work, read, play, photograph, get directions, check into a flight, tweet, connect with my out-of-town family, get advice, share stories, make appointments, check the weather, and did I mention work? We are so lucky that we have this ability, so lucky. I love what I can do with my phone.
It’s when using your phones and cameras gets in the way of enjoying your life that the red flags in my brain go up.
When you can’t blow out your cake candles until you have taken a selfie in front of it.
When you have to redo a proposal because you didn’t get the right picture.
When you aren’t enjoying drinks with your girlfriends because you are too busy reading what they are tweeting.
When you miss part of the conversation at a family anniversary dinner because you are photographing the food you are about to eat.
When you can’t enjoy baking with your kids because you have to stop and photograph each step, making sure they are smiling and happy and perfectly coiffed in each shot.
When you don’t notice your son’s home run because you were too busy tweeting about a funny thing your son said four minutes before the home run.
“Mama, did you see it??!” Mama? Mama?”
Yes, I’m still kicking myself over that one.
I have created this lovely little life—it would be a damn shame to miss it.
Sharing is good—great, even. I love being able to share things, and see what you’ve shared. It’s a huge luxury we have these days—that I can see what’s happening at any time of day, at any place in the world. My mother in Virginia can see Josh’s haircut, moments after he got it. I can read that someone I went to elementary school just had a baby (mazel tov!). I can see that my great aunt is out of surgery and things went well.
Being connected is so wonderful, but let’s just make sure we connect in person too—not just behind our screens.
They are worth it.