From Our Readers
June 28, 2013 6:00 am

Normally I am not really a vindictive person (#lies #whoamikidding), but I recently had an experience that ate away at me for a while before coming to make this post.

Boyfriend and I decided to take a night time trip to the beach (#itsonlyfifteenminutesfrommyhouse #imovedtohavelifeexperiences). It was the evening of a full moon and we wanted to partake in nighttime beach walking. I don’t know if you have ever seen a blood red moon rising up from what appears to be the depths of the ocean, but it is amazingly spectacular. We saw it beginning to peak (#insertsquealofalittlegirlthatwasme), sat down in the sand and watched in complete awe. I have never seen anything like it. Everyone on the beach stopped, turned off their flashlights, stood or sat down right where they were, and we all, together, as a hodgepodge group of observers watched in silence until it made it’s way fully into the night sky.

Boyfriend and I discussed the idea of how small and insignificant we were at that exact moment. I can’t even begin to fathom how large Earth is, and to know there were others out there seeing exactly the same thing that I was seeing happen, was mind blowing. I turned to Boyfriend and said, “Had we gone to the bar tonight, we never would have seen this.” Had we made any other decision on a Saturday night, we would not have witnessed how crimson the sky looked around this glowing orb making it’s graceful entrance into the sky, or been a part of the surrounding community who gathered to watch this natural occurance.

We proceeded to move after it was fully in the sky, but still talked about some other existential stuff like well versed wonderers, talking about the movement of the Earth and what not as we slowly made our way back to the motorcycle (#becauseweareawesome). We headed to the other part of the island for some more strolling, got some ice cream cones, and headed to the other beach. People were out playing with glow sticks, wading in the ocean, and we noted the scent of pot permeating the sea air. We held hands like new lovers, and were very much enjoying our spontaneous date night. As we prepared to leave and head back to our normal evening at home which generally consists of doing nothing, I decided to snap two pictures to contribute to my collection of memories that are brilliantly stored in a database that I can never loose (#instagram).

The motorcycle ride was beautiful with the light of the full moon at our backs, the stars seemingly blinking in the infinite abyss of the night sky, and the smell of the pine trees that line the islands. I felt in that moment, content with life and happy I had the ability to have this experience, because if I had been anywhere else, I would have missed it entirely.

When I got home I quickly threw on some borders and words from a great little app that some awesome ladies who wanted to do something cool with their lives (and did) made. I then uploaded to Instagram and Facebook to share with others who couldn’t possibly be with me at the beach in Georgia, what I had seen. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? My mom back home in Wisconsin was delighted, amazed, and grateful I could share with her what I was doing. Sure, I could have taken it with a regular camera, developed it myself (#becauseitookthesamephotoclassesinhighschoolyoudid), and sent it off in the mail to her, but instantly she could have somewhat of an inkling what I was had seen that night.

When I woke up with the world at 5 am, I did a quick look at Facebook. People had liked and commented on my two photos. I scrolled through the feed to see what other adventures (or not adventures) others had gotten into. There I stumbled upon a post from a childhood friend made a mere five hours prior, ranting in broken English with the traditional adopted tech speak of “u” instead of “you.” I won’t quote it for fear of suspected plagiarism, but there was talk about knowing what an actual camera is, if “u” even know how to do highfives “n” cannonballs, how much this person hates Instagram and hashtags, and that real memories and talking face to face is the best. There was more to it, although, deciphering it was difficult, I think I got the gist.

Now, of course, in this day and age, I can’t necessarily immediately jump to the conclusion that the post was directed at me, although with the low number of Facebook friends this person has, I can probably justify feeling that way (unless their dog is posting tons of Instagrams on it’s own Facebook page….). At first I got a little butthurt. I liked my pictures. I tried to put it out of my mind. I started cleaning my house. Then I got really mad. How dare this person rant about something they don’t understand? I live exactly 1,120 miles from my family and my other set of friends. Do I want to share my life experiences with them at the tap of a finger? Yes. Do I want to save a copy of those memories forever so even if I die tomorrow, my mother can look at that picture of the full moon I saw and know I was having a great life? Of course.

I understand the fact that technology is cutting into the general experience of “real life.” There are plenty of times to put down the iPhones, iPads, laptops, digital cameras, etc. and just take in nature, situations, and face to face meals without looking down to check to see what others are doing instead of appreciating the moments you are in. I have been on both ends of this spectrum. However, I do feel a great sense of connection to my family back home that I wouldn’t have if the technology didn’t exist. I have gotten to see my niece grow into a curious two year old, and my nephew literally moments after his birth.

I chose to move away to experience other parts of life in a different place in the country. To feel the ocean on my feet, to eat food that I had never eaten (#collardgreens), and see a completely different way of life (#andnotshovelsnow). While I am experiencing all these amazing new things, I am jointly missing out on others. I know that with Instagram and Facebook I can still in a way feel I am connected to them, and visa versa. Do I ultimately love the institution of them? Not necessarily, but I am grateful to have the ability to instantly share with them. I wouldn’t know Boyfriend’s family as well if I didn’t have those sites, honestly, because half of them I’ve only met once in five years.

I will stand by using my Instagram, and writing dumb words for hashtags (#dumbwords) because I have found other inspiring ideas through them, and gotten to see pictures from other parts of the world I can’t fathom. I will continue to post pictures without developing them by hand, I kick ass at cannonballs, and most recently celebrated National High Five day with ease.

Read more from Leah Clausen here.

Featured image via Leah.

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