Be Present

There are times in our lives where we want to stop and take a picture or record a video to document certain moments. The saying, "Take a picture, it'll last longer" may technically be true, but lately, the only reason people choose to log their memories is to be able to say: "I was there!" I'm not talking about your wedding day or something else that is equally memorable. I mean, if you didn't have a photographer at your wedding, you may need to ask yourself some serious questions. 

In this day and age, it seems as though everyone whips out their phones or cameras anytime something funny or exciting happens. I have been guilty of doing this as well, don't get me wrong. My over-documenting usually took place at one general location: a concert venue. 

If you know me at all, you'd know that my favorite thing to do in the entire world is to go to a concert. I have always loved listening to music, dancing to it even though I know I'm a terrible dancer, and most of all: listening to a band's live performance. At a concert, you're a part of a large group that is there for the same reasons as you: to listen to a band and appreciate their music. This is why being at a concert, surrounded by music and other music-lovers, is one of my favorite places to be. 

I have something to get off my chest: I am a Jonas Brothers fan. Always have, always will be. (Yes, I'm 20 years old, why do you ask?) The first time I saw them live - yes, I am implying that there have been multiple occurrences - I was in middle school. I brought my little digital camera to record some songs and take pictures of the Jonas clan. For most of the performance, I was busy looking through the camera screen instead of paying attention to the actual performers, because I didn't want to record the back of someone's head by accident. The solution sounds simple: lose the camera. But as a die-hard Jonas fan, having physical proof that I saw them in concert was vitally important. The videos and pictures did turn out well, but the only problem was - even though memory card said that I was at the concert the entire time - I wasn't able to recall what the concert was actually like. My ears were ringing after the speakers stopped producing music, but I was too involved in the recording process that I wasn't really there. However, I do remember thinking that a backup singer was actually Demi Lovato for an embarrassingly long time. That was a letdown.

After the concert, I came to this realization: some of the moments you want to remember the most, you don't need to document at all or as much as you think. It sounds like an oxymoron, but hear me out: When you feel the need to document every single thing that you do, it's easy to get wrapped up in thinking, "What should I caption this when I post it online?" and not truly be present in what you're doing. Instead, be selective in what you choose to share online with others, and keep a mental note of how often you pick up your picture-taking device.

Two summers ago, I saw OneRepublic and The Script live, and I decided beforehand to do the exact opposite of what I usually do at at concerts. I didn't watch the bands from behind my phone the entire time - I was just at the concert, appreciating the time I spent with my friends, and enthralled by the music. Yes, I recorded a few performances, but they were of my favorite songs. Even now, I still remember that I danced to almost every song played, Danny O'Donoghue (The Script's main singer) called an audience member's ex on the phone and sang to him, and most of all, I remember how their songs made me feel: exceptionally happy and carefree for reasons I don't even know how to explain. 

I have since applied this knowledge to outings with my friends, time spent with my family, etc. I don't look for photoshoot opportunities anymore, I just enjoy being with people that I love, not worrying if what I'm doing is Instagram-worthy. If I want to take a picture and post it, great. But if I don't, that doesn't mean that the moment will not be remembered. 

And looking back, these moments (those I don't have pictures of or only have a few) have been some of the most significant times in my life. 

Reagan Fleming