Focus on experiencing the moment

Published 12:38 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

I don’t go to many concerts, but I’ve heard that some musicians ask the audience to refrain from taking video and pictures with their phones. I’ve heard this is because they want the audience to really experience the performance instead of being distracted by focusing on getting the best shot from their little phone screens.

While I don’t think taking a photo or two would be too bad, I can understand the idea behind the ban. How often do we focus on preserving memories and forget to actually experience the moment?

Forgive me for sounding like a trite Hallmark card, but life is full of experiences. I’ve been thinking more about this lately. It can be so easy for me to simply let moments pass me by without a second thought. It can be so easy for me to simply sit in front of the TV before bed without thinking about anything at all.

But that wouldn’t be experiencing life to its fullest.

I’d like to try better to make the most of my experiences.

Looking back at my life so far (almost three decades of it if I want to be honest), I can say that I’ve been blessed with some awesome experiences. I got to spend four years of college at Elon University, meeting so many different people from around the country and around the world while learning how to live on my own. I was able to travel to Japan twice, getting to visit beautiful locations and talk with friendly strangers. I may never get the opportunity to travel there again (though I’d like to), but my memories of both trips will stick with me for the rest of my life.

These “big” experiences are, of course, important to me. I learned a lot from both of them, and they were the source of a lot of wonderful, positive emotions. But I like to look back on little experiences I have had along the way as well.

I remember stuff like traveling with my best friend to the Barnes & Noble in Greenville for the “midnight release” parties when the last Harry Potter books came out. Being able to spend hours browsing the bookstore shelves while we waited was a dream come true.

I remember hanging out in the living room of our house marathoning through different TV shows with my brother. We laughed when things were going well and booed loudly whenever things started going badly for our favorite characters.

But life isn’t only good experiences. Droughts drying up my father’s crops, spending several months unemployed, attending the funeral of a dear friend. These things too have been a part of my life. Even though there are details I’d like to forget, the memories still remain. I can take these experiences and learn from them just as I do with the good ones.

Going forward, I’m trying to remain focused on getting the most out of each experience, whether that’s traveling to visit a friend or taking a moment to enjoy a good meal in a restaurant.

As I write this column, we’re all waiting for Hurricane Florence to arrive. I don’t particularly want to experience a Category 4 hurricane, but I don’t seem to have any choice. Florence is on its way here. We’ll all just have to face it and add it to our experiences. That’s just how life goes.


Holly Taylor is a staff writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or by phone at 252-332-7206.