A Modern Day Struggle: Sharing vs. Keeping Memories

I saw this quote from the olive tree on Pinterest the other day and I have had a hard time getting it out of my head since then.  While I love to snap photos and share them on Instagram and Facebook, I am torn because some of my favorite moments are when I’m exploring a place with people I love, without a phone in sight.  
Two weekends ago Tom and I went on a run with no phones.  We finished up our ten miles at the National Botanical Gardens by the Capitol, and we spent time exploring the gardens, smelling the flowers and marveling at all the different types of plants that we had never seen before.  There were gorgeous orchids everywhere (one of my favorite flowers that I am terrible at keeping alive), and I kept thinking that they would make such beautiful Instagram photos…but strangely enough, it was rather freeing to not have to worry about which filter to use, what witty comment to make, etc.  It was nice to simply enjoy the time with the man I love.  We wandered all over DC on that beautiful day, and missed out on many photo ops, but it was special because now that lovely afternoon is only ours to recollect, and we don’t have to share it with all of cyberspace.
Does it amplify a memory if you share it with the world?  Or does it take away from it because it’s no longer a special memory for only you to keep in your heart?  These are the things I struggle with sometimes, especially as I’ve gotten more into blogging and the necessary constant documentary that it requires.
My brother Nathan is the most loving, caring, happy, helpful guy I’ve ever met.  He’s able to make any person from any walk of life feel like they are the most important person in the world, because he’s truly interested in their story.  Nathan’s a free spirit, and his zest for life is intoxicating.  He has long hair, plays the banjo, kayaks, has worn the same running shoes for 3 years, and is completely uncomplicated.  He’s been “off the grid” social media-wise for a few years now, and sometimes I am so jealous of the freedom he must feel.  His little flip phone is all he needs, and he’s completely content.   There is something to be said for living simply, and not caring about who you are making memories for…because you know you’re making memories just for yourself and those you are lucky enough to be spending time with! 
Do any of you all feel this way?  Or am I the only one who has this struggle?  I can’t help but think of one of the most beautiful Bible verses (Luke 2: 16-19): “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasure up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  I just think that last sentence is so beautiful and powerful.  I had something happen a few days ago that I’m dying to share with the world, but I also want to treasure it and ponder it in my heart for just a bit longer.  Don’t worry, I’ll share the news soon 🙂
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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. July 2, 2014 / 4:50 pm

    I love this.
    I too struggle with the question of whether to instagram or not to instagram.
    One way that you could have the best of both worlds would be to create a private instagram account with zero followers, or just a few, and use it as a digital photo album of sorts. When you eliminate the validation of receiving likes and comments, the photos you publish become more personal.

  2. July 2, 2014 / 8:14 pm

    I am an Instagram addict, not in uploading pics myself, but in browsing other people's! Also, as I was out shopping today, I noticed how much time I spend texting instead of enjoying some alone time to just browse. It's something I know I need to work on!

  3. July 2, 2014 / 11:20 pm

    I was on my way to work last week when I realised I'd left my phone at home. I made the conscious decision to spend the day without it. I often think back to a letter a mother wrote to her son when he got his first phone and some of the points in it:
    13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
    14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.
    17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.
    Having said that, its worth googling "Gregory's iPhone Contract" and reading the whole thing.

  4. July 3, 2014 / 12:16 am

    I just wrote a really long response but apparently I didn't load it properly. I don't feel like writing it again, but I agree with you. Sharing with those important to you heightens your experiences, but if it consumes you, it takes away. It's all about balance.


  5. July 5, 2014 / 4:44 pm

    I'm a post-aholic, but I have noticed I've slowed down a lot lately. I don't think I'm as inspired since I left Hawaii. I didn't really thnk about it though. I just found myself slowing down. I do still like to post a lot about things that interest me. It's more about me than keeping my friends and family up to date. I don't have a journal or a scrapbook, so facebook and Instagram are like my surface level diaries. I periodically look through all my historical posts like I used to look through the old photo albums my parents kept, so I post away so I can go back and enjoy the moments again later.

  6. July 7, 2014 / 2:33 pm

    That's a great idea! Such a great point about the validation of likes and comments.

  7. July 7, 2014 / 2:34 pm

    It's so easy to waste so much time browsing on instagram, isn't it? Some people take such amazing photos and seem to live some glamorous lives. It's nice to take a break from time to time though. Thanks for reading Leslie!

  8. July 7, 2014 / 2:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Deb! Gregory's mother soulds brilliant and I look forward to reading the contract. I can only imagine how much more difficult it is to raise children/teens now due to all the different social media platforms and texting. Thanks for reading!

  9. August 22, 2014 / 12:40 am

    I struggle with this all the time. Sometimes its so much fun sharing! And other times, it's like we have nothing left sacred in our lives anymore. I've definitely pulled back on social networking and I've become a lot more private.

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