October has been a busy travel month for me. This month, I traveled to Disney with my family and then went to a conference in Las Vegas. As I was traveling, I felt a tug of war inside me between living for social media vs. being present in the moment. For example, while at Disney I found myself thinking, “This would be a great shot for Instagram.” And then I would stop and take pictures or turn that moment into a photoshoot. To the dismay of my family, I paused our adventures to take 100 pictures until I got the perfect shot. This happened repeatedly throughout the trip and I could tell that it turned into a point of frustration for my family.
While on a food tour in Las Vegas, I spent so much time going Live on Facebook to tell my social media audience about the tour, the food we were tasting, and helping them feel like they were with me. I was so busy documenting the tour that I felt like I was missing the experience of the tour, the sights and sounds of Vegas, and truly being able to enjoy myself. Finally, midway through the trip, I’d had enough and told myself to just be present.
I’ve had this battle between living in the moment vs. living for social media before. A couple years ago, I took a social media break. I was tired of feeling rushed to post pictures in real time or at the end of the day to document my day-to-day activities. I kept seeing other bloggers’ social media feeds and I wanted my feed to look like theirs — endless activity, great fashion shots, and an interesting life that people wanted to follow. However, in that quest I became less present and I felt like I was living life for Instagram. Instead of seeing and experiencing the fullness of life, I saw it through the screen of my phone as I recorded or filmed cool shots or took the perfect picture. However, life is so much bigger than a tiny phone screen.
It is important to take time to be present — to feel the atmosphere around you and to take in the moment using all of your senses. To look at the smiles on your children’s faces and to feel present in the moment. Those are the things that truly matter, but in the social media driven culture, those things are being lost.
Therefore, I challenge you to think about what you’re focusing on. When I found myself focusing on recording the Circle of Life Show at Disney and filming myself singing along to it (of course to share with my social media friends), I realized enough was enough. I didn’t go to Disney to live for social media, but to enjoy the park with those I love. I put my phone in my purse and began to live in the moment and be present.
I took those same lessons and applied them to my everyday life, as well. Instead of filming all of my twins’ practices and extracurricular classes, I sat and watched and took notice of their improvement, growth and the things that brought them joy. As my focus changed, I noticed how much they looked at me to see if I’m even paying attention.
My new level of attentiveness and presence gives them great joy. It’s not easy. As with all habits, it takes time and there is no magic formula of what balance looks like. However, being more present is totally worth it.