I’m not one for taking constant pictures.
I’ll leave that to the Facebook and Pinterest junkies who flood my feeds with pictures of their meals. I would rather spend my time soaking up the atmosphere. I would rather sit on a mountain top staring at the frosty tip of the Matterhorn, with nothing but the sound of silent air and the occasional tumble of snow.
But there are moments in my life that I wish I could better remember. Moments in which I should have taken a more thorough mental picture or actually pulled out my phone and snapped a photo.
I believe that 99% of your time should be spent absorbing your surroundings, but you should also take a second to snap a photo afterwards.
So You Can Do It Again
A photo of my grandma’s old lake house always makes me want to go back and visit. It brings back memories of watching fireworks on the pontoon boat, catching frogs in the neighbor’s swamp and building couch cushion forts inside when it rained.
Today I look at my recent trips to Italy and Switzerland. The gargantuan Swiss mountains and rocky Italian oceanfront makes me want to get up and go back right now. Pictures relay a reminder to slow down and experience life. They prompt you to return to places or spend time with friends and family again and again. Pictures call you back to a place or time that changed your life. They put your job, money and physical objects low on the list of important items in life.
You never realize how important photos are until someone passes. A recent funeral, with photo boards, reminded me how awesome my great uncle was. The photos reminded me of his funny white hair, his lifelong dedication to his six kids (three of which weren’t his, but he took in as his own) and the smoked salmon he served with Thanksgiving dinner every year.
Photos provide a hint of what was once there before. They bring back feelings of love, happiness and even sorrow.
Everyone should write. It serves as therapy – calming your nerves and extracting creativity. My friend writes a travel journal to document everywhere she goes. She admits that she usually doesn’t read the entries ever again, but they put her at peace while abroad. They help her remember the small intricacies of her trips. Writing puts her in a mindset to slow down. To stop stressing about the next activity on the itinerary, and to simply absorb her surroundings, and think about the history of people, events and culture that make the place special. Mental photos help her recollect those experiences for writing later, and actual photos slide right into each one of those pages to remind her that one day she will return.
Pictures also help to structure poetry and stories. A quality scene in a novel contains exquisite details about the location and atmosphere of the situation. Every time I write a science fiction short story, I pull out pictures from my past to get in touch with my senses and remember real locations, smells, sights and sounds.
A picture makes life more fun. It brings happiness and joy and reminders to always maintain a youthful mindset.
Let me know in the comments how you use pictures to make yourself happier.