I’m no scientist, but I would venture to say that humans are the only beings that spend 90% of their lives in the past. Why is this? I’ve never been able to say, but it seems related to the real challenge of living in the present. We like to try to convince ourselves that it was “better back then,” even though a simple, realistic pondering usually reveals that this is, at best not true, and at worst a complete distortion.
So am I the only one who checks the Facebook “On This Day” feature with zeal each day? I don’t know when they instituted it, but after a few of my friends shared their own odd memories I went ahead and tweeked the settings so I would be notified anytime there were previous statuses to view.
It’s actually kind of fascinating to look at these old posts, because in many cases they have revealed unexpected themes that run through a specific day. For example, I could see that on a couple of June 8ths, I reflected heavily on who I am or want to be. I guess this isn’t surprising, because it was during my first go-round of grad school, and in the middle of the Summer, when I had nothing to do but sit at home and think.
I was also recently reminded that this month saw my introduction to Wi-Fi, (June 2, 2010), and text messaging, (June 11, 2008). Given how completely both of these technologies are now integrated into my very existence, it is amazing that they were almost unknown to me only a mere eight years ago.
I will probably always enjoy reflection, as my musical tastes still reside in the 90’s, I read books that remind me of books I’ve read before, and I lament that one shot or pass that would have propelled my sports teams just a bit farther than they were able to go. I think that this is good, but can it start to get in the way?
I think it can to some extent. The importance of realizing that where we are now is ok cannot be overstated. I may never have had the kind of life I currently do, with the ability to work and play all according to my own choices. Easy access to restaurants, the bus, and other amenities both are a wallet suck and a relief that make it possible for me to survive the long days at work.
And let’s be real, I probably don’t want to be 18 or 19 again, despite my oft-expressed feelings to the contrary. I would say maybe I would like to if I could still know what I do now, but then I would hate the fact that I had no money and a resultant limited freedom. Not to mention the sometimes intense bouts of depression and such that I had experienced. It would have been really interesting if Facebook had existed then, back in the days of stone tablets and horse-drawn carts. Too bad I have to just pull them up on the slowly fading mental record in my own dome.
I am still sometimes hounded by my more recent past, and especially as I work my way through grad school. Things are looking up there too, with me now more than halfway through my third class and finally starting to get stronger. I can see that I had for a long time been effected by the jitters as a result of what happened to me during 2009-2011, but the important thing I have to remember about that was I hadn’t entered a program that was really along my career path. It’s all good though, because I had learned a lot from that attempt as well.
So have you played with that Facebook feature yet? Do you ever notice any weird themes running through a particular day. If that Back to The Future car were invented, would you opt to go back? To which year?