Lost a GoPro, Gained Perspective

While losing an item you like, love even, can be painful, it often makes you realize how little it actually adds to your life. Originally published at www.morexperiences.com on November 14, 2017.

Lost a GoPro

Yes, I lost a GoPro while on a vacation. It was not a dramatic soon-to-be YouTube famous type of accident mind you, it simply slipped away from me in a lake. And yet while it bothered me, both at the moment and in the ensuing minutes following, it drove home a point, a feeling, I have been trying to cultivate recently.

Objects are meaningless. Truly.

The Drop

I was vacationing in New England, spending time with immediate and extended family. Picture perfect day, a great one for playing around in the water.

I had attached the camera to my head and was filming our group playing different games in the water. Lots of splashing, laughing, and simply enjoying each other’s company.

At one point we were on a platform in the lake, placed about 100 yards from shore to dive off of and swim to/from, when I jumped off as part of a game of roshambo (rock–paper–scissors). I had lost another round, and moving away from the opponent after each loss put me on the very edge of the platform. I moved so close to the edge that the edge no longer existed, hence my plunge into the lake.

As soon as I hit the water I felt the strap on my head slide off. Panic struck me, I knew exactly what that sensation indicated, and I flailed my arms trying to grasp something. Anything. I hit what I think was the strap very briefly with my pinky and tried to circle back to a slightly lower spot to catch the entire object, but by this time my body was moving upward from lack of momentum.

I surfaced quickly and dove right back down, reaching. Looking. Scanning. Yet, nothing with the exception of many weeds and black-ish soil holding those weeds to the lake bottom.

Upon surfacing again I let the people I was with know the GoPro was now sitting on the lake floor. They expressed their shock and sadness, which I appreciated at the time but in retrospect seems odd. Disturbed even.

It was just a camera.

Some within our group had goggles and, over the next 30 minutes or so, people took turns diving down to the lake bottom. Our guess is the lake floor was about 10–12 feet down at that spot, meaning not much light and not a lot of time to scan without needing to resurface. I may look like a beluga with my shirt off, but I breathe like a human.

Both family and some other onlookers helped us search for the sunken treasure, and while we did find 4 pairs of goggles, some snorkel gear, and WAY too many discarded beer bottles, the camera wasn’t ever retrieved.

At one point I simply decided that looking for the camera was not worth the time and energy. It is, after all, just a physical good that can be easily replaced (though it won’t, described later)

After telling my own children of the loss, who were not out on the platform and did not know what we were doing, they seemed sadder than I had anticipated. My sweet 6 year old, with a heart of gold, said she would buy me another one. I smiled and thanked her for the offer, but it was unnecessary. She insisted on buying me something, my response was “if you really need to buy me something, maybe buy me something small that I can enjoy.”

She suggested a soda, I countered with a coffee. We were both satisfied.

While this story seemingly ends on a sad note of losing a fancy camera — though as mentioned I did get a free coffee to soften the blow — I was completely fine with the loss. In fact, it was a little refreshing. The reduction of an item to track while traveling. A digital object I did not need to remember to charge, upload pictures from, and generally take care of.

Sure a part of my mind would like another camera to replace the one I lost, but a larger side of my brain knows it is unnecessary. More important, deep within myself I know buying another camera (it was actually a gift, so I feel bad for that aspect of the loss) I am fully aware that it will only be a marginal uptick in happiness, followed by a return to neutral…sans-camera self.

I am fine leaving the physical camera behind, which is a step in the right direction of letting go of physical goods, but more important to my own path of minimalist and a related movement called morExperiences, is the fact my emotions attached to the camera were easily and quickly discarded.

As soon as I dove down to the lake floor once I emotionally detached myself from the camera when I did not see it. All of the extra dives were a mix of treasure hunting and exercise for me. I am always up for adventures, especially ones that get my body moving and allow me to be in nature.

Note: As for the camera’s whereabouts, if anyone wants to treasure hunt for it, it awaits someone underneath the diving platform of Lake Baboosic in New Hampshire. Happy hunting!