A regular de-cluttering of my home and my mind are important rituals for me.
I get mentally overwhelmed by too much physical stuff so I like to live as minimally as possible. I also love to regularly enjoy quiet and slow activities like yoga and walking, to clear my mind (an ever-changing place that’s on a constant journey to become more quiet and peaceful),
Home, on it. Mind, on it. But a third area I never thought about cleansing before was my digital realm.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually really good at clearing out my email inbox and DMs. I can’t stand to have actions stagnating in a sphere that I enter multiple times each day. I like to deal with something straight away, then delete it. But when it comes to my photo files, I’ve realised today that they are nothing more than dormant, cluttered treasure chests, doing nothing but gathering dust on my hard-drive.
I’ve spent a long train journey home tonight looking back on years of memories. I’m working my way through 2005 – 2018 and I have just stopped at 2012 to take a moment to reflect with you all. According to my Mac, I’ve acquired a staggering 8,658 photos over the last 13 years.
Without any doubt, there is absolutely no need for me to have this many photos of my previous lived moments.
8,658 photos across 13 years. That’s 666 photos per year (wtf 😈). How could I ever possibly make my way through so many? It’s nice to reflect on good times, but when the sheer volume is overwhelming, they just remain unearthed.
For someone that spends her holidays constantly tutting at tourists glued to their selfie sicks, this high quantity is very hypocritical of me. It goes against many of the things I’m always philosophising about – being in the moment, switching off from technology, and such. Did I really need 284 photos of my 2013 three day trip to Budapest? Of course not. Not once in the last five years have I stopped and looked back at those 284 files. Taking just a handful would have sufficed.
Most of these photos on my computer have served no other purpose than being distractions to me enjoying the moment itself.
Maybe if I’d taken, say, 274 less photos in Budapest, I’d remember it differently. Maybe I’d be able to recall names of beers, street names, specific places we visited.
In 2018, most of us suffer from a constant compulsion to document every single moment, every corner of the world, every element of our lives. Well, this evening I’ve been quite taken aback by this, and by the sheer volume of memories lying asleep on my laptop.
Following this deep digital cleanse (at the end of which I will be able to look back a few easily-accessibly photos), I will choose to focus on quality, not quantity.
I will live for the moment, not the memory.