This month, I’ll be blogging every day as part of Blogvember. It’s like NaNoWriMo, but for blogging (and reminds me of course of the old days when we did NaBloPoMo). I’ll be following the prompts from Andrew Canion.

There are days when I look back at photos I’ve taken, mostly on my phone, and I wonder why I took them. What prompted me, in a given moment, to take that photo?

Many times, I want to share a moment with someone. As someone who enjoys cooking, sometimes I want to share some concoction, or its process. I’ll send it to my brothers or a friend, and it sparks a nice conversation. These are snapshots, not artfully framed, and once I’ve eaten, or the conversation has moved on, they’ve served their purpose.

As someone who also appreciates the wisdom of Marie Kondo, I found it insightful that she recently talked about how she goes through photos each day (or other arbitrary frequency) and only keeps those which spark the most joy for her.

It’s here that I understand the appeal of services like Snapchat and the copycat version that is Instagram stories. These services recognize that perhaps we don’t all want photo albums filled with daily trivialities. The appeal is that the photos “disappear”. Of course, we know they never actually do disappear, but they disappear from our memories and we move on, not worried because we don’t personally have to deal with what becomes of them. It’s a false choice, as we who are becoming mindful and focusing on building back the independent web are well aware.

That means that it’s our own responsibility, then, to go back through those photos we’ve taken, decide if they’ve served us well, and delete them and move on.

Thinking about this has helped me be more mindful of the photos I take, and how long I want to keep them. Sharing a picture of a delicious lunch, or a beautiful cup of coffee with careful latte art, is great. These are fleeting moments I like to share sometimes, and that’s great. But I’ve realized they’re less important for me because they don’t quite mean as much to me in the future than they do in the present.

On the other hand, in the spring I joined a Ninja-style obstacle gym, and since joining have taken considerable more video footage. I keep an album on my phone of footage taken so I can watch my progress, and also watch my form so I can learn from my mistakes. It’s an intentional way to learn visually, while also helping document my progress doing something that’s turned into a favorite pastime.

I like the idea of, instead of simply collecting photos and other means of memorabilia, taking an intentional approach to remember what matters most to me.