If you know me, you know that I take photos of everything — my food, coffee, the sky, the road, old receipts and even clothes I’m throwing out. Not only do I take photos of too many things, I take two or three shots of the same scene in case one of them turns out better than the others. The photos pile up in my phone gallery and when my phone starts to slow down due to memory overload — yes, I am that one person always out of storage — the photos are transferred to my 2TB hard drive. They’re never deleted, but they’re also rarely sorted or seen again.
I feel a need to cherish every moment. Because our memory changes and fades as humans, I believe that the camera is an important tool for maintaining memory. I feel like my memories are a part of me, and my experiences shape who I am, so I take photos to remember every detail. I want to hold onto every good, bad or mundane detail. Because you don’t know what you don’t remember, I feel like memories that aren’t cherished are lost parts of myself.
This leaves me wondering, however: Is having too many memories a good thing? Are memories and experiences that important? Do I need to hold onto every detail of every phase of my life? Also, does the amount of memories blur out the best ones? Should I filter what I save to my phone and to my brain?
I need to learn to let go — to enjoy each memory and let them pass by. Just like how having 14,000 photos on my phone makes it harder to find each of my favorite photos, holding onto too many memories in my head and my hard drive will fog up the ones that bring me most value.
I should start cleaning up my photo gallery once in a while. Better utilize folders in the Photos app and set a time to clean up my gallery regularly so I can find my favorite memories. Tell myself to only take one shot of each object, and whenever I’m tempted to take a photo, ask myself: How much value will this memory bring me in the future? If it’s not worth taking up space in my virtual and cognitive storage, then maybe I should hold back on taking the photo. When I have downtime on my phone, choose the best photo taken from five angles and delete the rest.
Cherishing the past is important — however, so is being able to distinguish the best memories. If memories truly bring joy, I shouldn’t let them stay hidden in my hard drive with tens of thousands of other trivial photos. So far, digital storage is an asset that is purchased. I don’t want to let mundane memories that I won’t ever look back on sit in purchased storage. I want to take time to filter my gallery; if these memories are worth my time to look back on, I’ll print them out, hang them up, favorite them, upload them on a social media feed — put them somewhere so that I can receive the most joy out of them.