How to Learn to Live in the Moment: Capturing with a Polaroid

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Hello friends! 

In pursuit of optimal emotional health, one thing I will be exploring are ways to become more present in my daily life.

For Christmas 2017, my roommate gave me something that I have wanted for ages: A polaroid camera. Although polaroids do not take the best quality images around, they do have a certain charm about them. With a polaroid, you only get one shot to get the photo right. There are no redos. What is done is done after you click that button and capture the image. I think that life can hold the same mentality as polaroids. Once a moment is over, it is gone for good. Learning to take “snapshots” of your life means taking a moment and appreciating what is in front of you. I think that we are shaped by our experiences as humans, so learning to appreciate, remember and reflect on our daily lives is critical.

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly living in the future. My main motivation for coping with the busyness of my current life (full time college, part time work, social life, working out, cooking…) is that I am laying a foundation for a fulfilling life in the future. Although it is important to have goals and drive, I think it is equally as important to stop and appreciate where you are right now. To achieve this appreciation for the current moment, I would like to develop (and share with you!) some exercises to “stop and smell the roses”. Today’s exercise is as simple as taking a picture.

My Shot with a Polaroid

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At first glance, this image may seem typical and uneventful. But what is being depicted is Gracie, a beautiful mix of German Shepherd and Lab, digging in the backyard and enjoying the highly anticipated Alabama snow.

Snow is a rarity in Alabama due to the warmth that it usually harbors. As someone who comes from the Midwest, I have never really understood why snow is a big deal to people. What seems annoying to me excites Alabama residents like nothing else. It doesn’t even take a whole lot of snow to excite these people either! Not even an inch had to graze the ground to make Alabamians ecstatic.

On the day that I took this image, I understood it a bit more.

When snow hits, everything in town shut downs for Alabama. It’s a rarity, and no one is really sure what exactly to do with the snow. What was supposed to be a day of busy work and bustling life became cancelled plans and warm chocolate chip pancakes. For Gracie, a day of naps and barking at the neighborhood cats became a day of cold, white joy and fun with her favorite humans! All day! 

Had I not captured this image (or more so taken a moment and admired the beauty of what was in front of me), I wouldn’t have been able to reflect and appreciate the importance of keeping an open mind to the unexpected.

As human beings, we are constantly in a state of growth. We are always learning. In a generation where we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of information, taking one simple image and reflecting on it can make it easier to focus and learn from where you are in life right now.

I would also like to put out there that a Polaroid is not necessary to experience this kind of reflection. Any kind of image, writing, painting…whatever it may be…can be reflected on.

Have any personal exercises for living more in the moment? Feel free to share below!

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