"If a tree falls in the forest and nobody sees it, did it really happen?"

"If a tree falls in the forest and nobody sees it, did it really happen?"

Yesterday, I embarked on a journey of presence and connection at my eldest son's Parents and Teachers Summer Ball. With my husband by my side, we entered a realm where Instagram stories no longer dictated our experiences. Instead, we found ourselves immersed in conversations that held true meaning. Not once did I succumb to the impulse of capturing a selfie or seeking a photo opportunity to share on social media. It was a shift, a departure from the norm, but I wholeheartedly embraced it.

As the morning sunlight cascaded through my window today, a fleeting thought crossed my mind. I realized I hadn't captured a single picture of Terry and me in our exquisite outfits from last night. We truly looked lovely together, our attire speaking volumes about the effort we put into preparing for the occasion. In the past, I would have exclaimed, "If it doesn't go on Stories, it didn't happen!" That mindset mirrored the age-old philosophical conundrum: "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody sees it, did it really happen?"

However, in this newfound realm of mindfulness, I paused. I took a moment to reflect on the depth of the evening, the connections I made, and the memories etched in my heart. It dawned on me that the worthiness of an experience doesn't rely on its documentation for public consumption. The true essence of an event resides in the emotions felt, the conversations shared, and the connections nurtured.

When we detach ourselves from the constant quest for external validation, we embark on a journey of self-discovery. We learn to cherish the present moment without the need to capture it for the scrutiny of others. We discover the beauty in embracing authenticity, vulnerability, and genuine human connections.

In a world governed by likes, follows, and fleeting digital facades, it is a radical act to be fully present and engaged. It requires us to lean into the discomfort of being unseen, to surrender the allure of seeking validation through social media. It is an adjustment, undoubtedly, but one that gifts us with an opportunity for true connection.

As I reflect upon the Parents and Teachers Summer Ball, I find solace in knowing that the memories created that night were not fleeting, but rather etched within the hearts of those who were present. The conversations we shared, the laughter that filled the room, and the genuine connections we forged were not diminished by the absence of photographs.

So let us challenge ourselves to embrace the art of being truly present, to prioritise the depth of connection over the shallowness of social media validation. Let us release the belief that an experience must be broadcasted to be deemed worthy. In doing so, we will uncover the richness of the present moment, free from the shackles of societal expectations.

Remember, dear reader, that life's most treasured moments often occur in the quiet spaces, away from the glow of screens. Embrace the joy of living fully, and trust that the memories etched in your heart are more profound than any fleeting Instagram story.

With love and vulnerability,
Ife Thomas

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