It’s funny how fast time really flies despite the fact that it often seems that it is just creeping by. With all the graduations that go on in the month of May, I must admit that I felt a bit nostalgic as I thought about the few times that I’ve graduated from some program. However, today is semi-different as it marks four years since I graduated from college. The funny thing is that May 28th wasn’t the original date that was supposed to happen. Living in Alabama, severe weather usually occurred during tornado season. That year, there was a tornado that came through parts of North Alabama with some disastrous results. I remember my last class in undergrad (didn’t know it at the time) and how somehow it just felt so final. Around the time of finals a huge storm came through and left thousands (including me) without power. I must admit that living without electricity isn’t something that I particularly enjoy doing. A phone call made with my rapidly dying cell phone to my parents confirmed that they were enjoying 21st century living with hot water and electricity as the storm had missed them. Gas pumps weren’t working but thankfully I had a full tank of gas and slowly made my way to my parents house around downed power lines and hundreds of non-working stoplights. But I digress. Needless to say graduation was canceled (postponed) for two weeks. I remember the anticipation that led up to the day. It was the culmination of a LOT of hours of hard work, sweat, and tears. One thing that was reassuring was that I had a plan of what I was doing afterwards. I remember how hot the robe was and trying to concentrate as I marched so that I didn’t trip and fall. It was a very very long day that started around 6 in the morning and ended at 3am the next morning, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I saw so many family members and celebrated with them. I had my name announced all over the arena and got the diploma holder that represented almost $100,000 in money spent for education and the hope that this degree would ensure that I didn’t live in poverty for the next 5 decades. Reminiscing is great, but the real question is what has been accomplished since then? That’s a sobering thought.
I’ve always been someone who liked to take pictures. From the moment that I got my first cell phone with a camera, I liked keeping a picture gallery of some of my experiences. While I’ve never been a fan of being in pictures, I have always recognized the significance and sometimes even the importance of capturing a memory in the form of a picture. However, one thing that I have noticed is that some moments do not require a photograph. There have been so many great moments that have happened where I’ve reached for my phone to take a picture but stopped. I think that that there are some moments in our lives that don’t require a photograph because taking one would in some way cheapen the moment. There are some things we experience in life that should be remembered by the feelings associated with the experience instead of pictures. While journaling can be another way of remembering experiences, there are some moments that are so special and significant in one’s life that words and pictures will never be able to fully capture the essence, experience, and the feelings associated with that event. The truth is that while a picture can be worth a thousand words, a memory can be worth a million. The experience in itself is worth it. Enjoying the moment, basking in the present and mentally filing it away without the visual aid of a photograph can make it that much more meaningful. Knowing that you won’t have a photograph to remember it by makes you all the more vigilant about capturing the experience through as many of your five senses as possible. It’s a far cry from looking through a photo album and reminiscing but can be so much better because you don’t have a photograph to remember the moment by and as a result, you remember more. Taking the time to live in the moment can help you to not have regrets later.