Smile for the Love

A photo is a snapshot taken of just one particular single moment in time. Yet it is capable of bringing back to memory more than just that particular moment. Sometimes it can unfold a lifetime.

It happened to me while looking at a group photo I was ‘tagged’ in. I am sincerely convinced that I am in that photo with people who truly love me. Then I started to reminisce about how I met each of them. I did remember. I also remembered specific episodes that helped strengthen my bond with them individually. I remembered the life changing events we shared. I remembered silly and embarrassing moments. I remembered the food, the fun and the fiascos. The more I remembered the more grateful I felt.

This is to be my yardstick, I thought to myself. I do not want to be in any kind of relationship that only looks good in photos. I want for my relationships to look better, feel better, and be better when there is no camera to pose for.

As I grow older and my friends grow old with me, I realize, we have lesser and lesser ‘need’ for documenting our escapades. More and more frequently now we will head home and notice we didn’t even take a single photo. We notice not in disappointment but in appreciation. We are learning now to capture moments through our own senses instead of mostly through the camera lens.

I get that we used to be obsessed with capturing every moment in a photograph perhaps for the belief that it might never happen again. I guess now we’ve learned that that’s okay. Newer and better moments will come upon us because we will make it happen. All it takes is will and a genuine desire to invest our precious time with one another.

Those who want to will make time. That is why now our dates get earlier and earlier. Life gets busy. In between the professional and family life it is quite a challenge to find compatible free time. We are unable to in the midday, but before everything else starts we could. So at five in the morning, while their kids are still asleep, while the rush hour has not yet peaked, and before our phones start beeping and ringing is when we set time to meet.

I guess every one of us tries to hold on to how it used to be. Just us, our intimate conversations, our inner most thoughts, our deepest desires, our irrational fears, and our sincerest hopes. We all needed some reminding of who we were before the world changed us into busy adults. Every now and then it will benefit us to have a glimpse at how people who’ve known us for decades view the best of who we are. It’s so easy to forget our youthful dreams because the world replaces it with what’s practical for our here and now.

In the greater scheme of things, we all could have done without a single photograph if we have people in our lives who will help remember for us who we are, where we’ve been, and how we came to be who we are now. If you’re one of the lucky ones who do have exactly that then you know it’s worth waking up early in the morning for. It’s worth not showering for. It’s worth not wearing make-up for. It’s worth going in sweatpants for. You see, we’re done smiling for the camera. Now we smile for the love.

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