I’ve recently signed up for unlimited yoga. I can go as many times as I want for $50 a month and it is a three month membership. I completed my first class two days ago and today I have my next class. In the midst of preparing for take two of my attempt at becoming flexible, the notion of taking a before and after photo crossed my mind. Considering I’ll be doing this for the next three months, there are bound to be changes in my body that will be worth seeing. The before sitting next to the after would surely be a sight to behold! You should also know that I’ve done this before. I began a weight loss journey almost three years ago and lost 55 lbs. I am the proud owner of pretty great before and after picture from that one! That being said, the idea of creating the first half of another one of these before and after photos is quite appealing and motivating to me. Yet, as I thought about which outfit would reveal the most change a new thought hit me…

Why are we so drawn to before and after pictures?

Scrolling through Facebook and flipping past commercials, it seems so many of us (myself included) are drawn into the contrast of a good before and after photo shoot. Someone lost 150 lbs, this guy has a full head of hair again, look at this room before and after a $5.75 makeover, a model before photo shop and after, celebrities with makeup and without, or my favorite, the “my acne disappeared overnight” photo. A snapshot like that compares two moments in time of the same person. This is the magic of a before and after picture; somehow the journey with all it’s struggle, pain, and persistence, gets wrapped up in one 4×6 color photo.

As I notice the strange phenomenon of comparing one second of ourselves to another, I am struck with how much this craze ignores the journey that commences between the two. Do we even care about that part of the picture or are we too obsessed with what we’ll be at the end? Is it far enough from where we started? Isn’t the important part the journey? Or is it the end result? Some might feel differently on that point but personally I think the part that matters most is all the seconds in between the dreaded before shot and the candid after. If only we could capture the seconds inside a photograph and all that transforms outside of a simple still image.

I don’t think I’ll be taking a before and after photo for this particular transformation. I think instead I’ll do my best to track the day to day changes within me; the changes beyond the surface, the difference that a photo cannot capture. Maybe it’s strength, resilience, determination, or patience but whatever it is, I think I’ll point a different lens at myself this time around. A different lens will seek out and challenge everything in-between the before and after. I will strive to embrace each second of the journey instead of culminating everything into frozen image.

It’s about each moment not just the one where you start and the one you end up in.

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