Vail Daily column: A picture is worth a thousand memories |

Vail Daily column: A picture is worth a thousand memories

OK, so maybe the saying is, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” For me, the words that people have shared with me throughout the years have certainly shaped my life in so many ways. And as a visual learner, pictures have enhanced my learning moments and my ability to retain information at an even greater level.

And now as we live in a world of constant instant photography moments lived out through selfies, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and other social media resources, we have unlimited access to take and view photographs and videos. Are we taking those photos and selfies to promote ourselves in an effort to say to the internet world, “Hey look at me, here I am?” Or are we taking our photos and videos to preserve a slice of personal or family history and memories in an otherwise me-focused world?

In a recent clean up and clean out event in our home, we came across boxes and boxes of old photographs. We found picture frames that once adorned the walls of our home that still contained the still moments of our active lives captured on film. Christmas, birthdays, skiing, golf, first lost teeth, fireworks, hikes, and even emergency room visits for those first broken wrists or bumps and bruises. We also found black and white photos from grandparents and great uncles and aunts who played such loving roles in our lives. What should have taken a few hours of clean up and clean out turned into two days of walking down a beautiful, happy and sometimes sad memory lane.

As images are shared with me via text or email, through my news feed or through social media, I still find myself more attracted to the tangible photos found in the storage bins of my basement. And even more than those physical photos and videos, I find myself really falling back in love with the memories, images and the photo album in my head and in my heart. A picture really is worth a thousand memories.

What should have taken a few hours of clean up and clean out turned into two days of walking down a beautiful, happy and sometimes sad memory lane.

Maybe I have been blessed with a better than average memory, although with each year that passes by my memory seems to get stronger, it also gets incredibly shorter. However, I am so thankful and feel so very blessed that I can still close my eyes and see those moments that shaped my life so vividly and so clearly. Whether we took a photo or not, the memories firmly planted in my head and in my heart are worth far more to me than any instant image or selfie that I have shared or that has been shared with me.

The role of technology

It’s been said that technology has replaced our ability to remember things only because we no longer have to rely on our memory, we can simply store or save telephone numbers, favorites, photos and anything else in a computers, tablets and smart phones. Now instead of calling someone from memory, we just push a button and we are instantly connected. If we ever find ourselves without our phone or contact database, we are just out of luck. In the past we knew exactly how to reach those we needed at the time when we needed them.

So for me, it’s like a picture or an image. Whether we take a picture with a phone or a camera or we simply watch and absorb the moments, storing them in our personal memory bank, it comes down to the relevance, beauty, grandeur or even simplicity of what we want to choose to capture and remember. It really has been a beautiful life, lived in a beautiful world full of blessings and miracles. It has also been a tough life lived through conflicts and personal and public battles. And even though in some cases pictures can remind us of exactly what happened, the memories held closely in our head and in our hearts are sometimes so much more intimate and powerful. A picture truly is worth a thousand memories.

How about you? Are you allowing yourself to live life and re-live life through the lens of your memories or the lens of a camera or smart phone? Either way, I would love to hear all about it at And when we can appreciate the beautiful moments of our lives through shared memories instead of simply shared photos, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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