Imagine this: you go through an entire year without taking pictures. You have fun. You make friends. You accomplish stuff. But no pictures. Then December hits. And you look back to find… not much of anything. Because there’s nothing to look back at. You have your memory, but that’s not all that accurate to begin with. And you have your social media profile, but let’s be honest, that’s a little cringey to look back at. You’ve probably figured it out by now, but the “you” you’re imagining isn’t you at all. It’s me.

When I’m hanging out with my friends, I just like talking to them. I try to fight through the awkward lulls in conversation instead of using my phone. Normally, this really pays off for me. I build meaningful relationships, and I feel like I’m just more present than I am when I’m worried about looking nice for a picture. The problem is: I have a terrible memory. Most of the time, I can’t even remember what I did yesterday, let alone over the past year. And as much as I enjoy my life in the moment, sometimes it’s sad to look back and not see much of anything. I want to remember more than just a feeling.

I guess there’s a compromise that’s to be made when I take pictures. Do I want to make a rich memory? Or do I want to experience a rich moment? Striking the balance is hard. So why do I take pictures? Because I spend 11 months choosing moments over memories. But during December, when I’m on winter break, I get to see all of the people that I only see once or twice a year. And just in case I never see them again or we grow apart, I take a picture. For one month a year, I choose memories over moments.