We love to reminisce with old photos. Or not!
In a recent attempt to declutter and down-size unwanted collections of items in our home, which at one time I thought were collectibles, I came upon boxes, scrapbooks and albums upon albums of photos. I knew that the management and disposal of furniture, clothing and other items, which I no longer needed, was going to be relatively easy compared to thinning out or disposing of our “beloved” photos. That process was going to be a real challenge and I would need to devise a strategy to accomplish the task. One strategy that might work is to select an album, close my eyes and throw it away. That may be a little too drastic, however, it would be quick and devoid of the time consuming reminiscing factor.
Because of a passion to chronicle, photographically, every event that we deemed unforgettable, we have a ridiculous number of photos and slides. We rarely, if ever, look at these photos because to do so would mean retrieving the dusty albums and slides from their resting places, dusting them off and setting them up for viewing. Who views slides anymore, anyway? Oh, I forgot to mention the reels and reels of super 8 films that require a movie projector in order the view. Obviously, this was a time before smart phones. Even with smart phones the photos still exist in the cloud library. Even the cloud library becomes cluttered with snap shots of events which we will probably never view again. However, we maintain those photos and pay for increase storage space on the cloud for them. We have not viewed our physical photos for decades. So what is the problem with just throwing these remembrances away? They are, obviously unimportant to us since we do not even look at them. What are we afraid of losing?
We were so busy memorializing each occasion with a camera that we missed the now experience and joy of the moments. Being present in the moment imprints experiences in our hearts and minds instead of photos or films that will rarely be viewed and eventually relegated to trash.
Were those days really that significant? What makes them more important than current events? Will current events and experiences garnish as much esteem in the future? If so, when do current events become treasured reminiscences?
We have voluntarily, probably unconsciously, assigned more importance to the past than is deserved. We do that at the risk missing the enjoyment of the events and experiences of what is happening the moment.
Positive memories and reminiscing, when kept in proper prospective, are wonderful as long as we do not attach unrealistic importance to them at the risk of diminishing the value of focusing on the here and now and planning for the future.
My goal is to put down my smart phone and resist the urge to view events through the lenses of my phone, which will probably languish in cyberspace, and view the events and experiences of today through lenses of my own eyes and storing those memories in my heart and mind.