There’s this old movie – The Neverending Story – that they used to show on GTV somewhere in the ’90s on Sunday afternoons. In the Sequel, a boy enters this fantasy world and acquires a medallion that grants various wishes. The twist, however, is that the baddie makes it such that with every wish, he forgoes a personal memory. It reaches a point somewhere down the line where he has just 2 left – of his mother and father – and then, in order to save the life of someone he gives up the memory of his mother with another wish.
That movie made me realise for the first time the immense importance of memories to us as people – they form our beings just as surely as every morsel of food we take in daily.
But this brings me to a conundrum: as we advance, humanity finds better and better ways of safeguarding this memory. Disposable cameras gave way to Polaroids, then digital cameras have progressively been giving way to the latest flagship smartphone in our quest to preserve the moments.
Technology steps in to save us, but at a cost which I’m guilty of also. Flipping through the 35+ Gb archive of pictures on my laptop accrued over the last decade or so, I realised the biggest mistake we’ve been routinely making.
In wanting to preserve the Moments for Tomorrow, we forget to fully Live through them Today.
Keep these thoughts in mind at the next wedding you’re at, or funeral, or birthday celebration or graduation. You don’t need to stop taking the pictures, but just for a second, pause…and take time to actually experience the Event:
It’s a wedding, your best mate is beginning this great journey – a selfie for Instagram can wait a few minutes while you hug her goodbye and whisper a heartfelt blessing into her ear, can’t it?
It’s your grandmother’s funeral – Nana won’t be sitting at the steps leading into the family house just enjoying the sea breeze the next time you pass through your hometown. Let the grief and loss wash over you for once as you contemplate the weight of a soul leaving this mortal coil, one dear to you. Posing with cousins, aunts and uncles for that perfect shot can wait as you pay your last respects.
It’s all happiness and joy because your son is 1 year old today. Heck, even he himself is not as impressed with the anniversary as you are – why fill up social media with all your ‘Baby @ 1’ pictures when you didn’t even hug him tight that morning to say an earnest prayer for him as God continues keeping him on Earth?
You finally graduate from Law School after numerous late night sessions, trails, resits and difficult examiners. Your whole family hires a bus to come to your graduation ceremony. ‘Behind-Behind’s First Lawyer’ they’re calling you now, but you can’t wait to take pictures with the Chief Justice, the Vice Chancellor, the Minister for Education and the X of Y. You seem to have forgotten their contribution to your fees all this while was way South of 1.00GHS, unlike the unwavering support of your family through it all.
All these are perfect opportunities to Create and Enjoy new memories, instead of wrapping them up for preservation in digital plastic wrap.
So. The next time you whip out your smartphone (plus or minus filters – smh!) ask yourself critically if you’re not inadvertently robbing yourself of a genuine Experience which will be converted into a Valuable Memory once you have enjoyed it fully in the Present.
If you honestly, really, really don’t think so, take a pose (no pouting please!) and say cheese!
PS: Don’t keep! Share…& then subscribe, okay :-)?