Monday, 7 July 2014

The nostalgic and reflective side effect of the Timehop app

I had quite a reflective weekend... actually, I've been pretty reflective for the past couple of weeks. There have been a series of events that have occurred in my life recently that have caused me to look back at the things I once had and the person I once was, all responsible for making me the person I am today.

I don't know if any of you have downloaded the 'Timehop' app. It's a simple app that each day lets you know what it was you posted on Facebook and Twitter this time last year/2 years ago etc and so forth. It's a fun app to have and allows you to take a trip down memory lane that generally tends to limit itself to only fond memories, due to those being the ones you are most likely to have shared with the world. However, it does tend to get a person sentimental and nostalgic for a time that is past and gone.

I have moved places a fair amount since joining facebook 7 years ago. Due to this, when Timehop shows me posts from multiple years in one day, I tend to be in a different place for all of them, spending my time with different people. On one hand, I love this, it makes me realise how many interesting people I've met and enjoyed time with, on the other hand, it makes me sad that I wasn't able to spend longer than a couple of years with each.

There are pictures that pop up on this app from different years showing me having the time of my life with these different friends. We're hugging and dancing and posing and laughing and generally enjoying time with each other in a way only close friends can. At the time, I can remember thinking that they are the friends I could see having these times with for years and years to come. But now, only a few years after this, I find myself having not spoken to them for months or even years. People move on and adapt to new surroundings and situations, and old friendships get lost in the transition. Most of the time, it isn't due to fall outs and arguments, but simply estrangement and the loss of available time to spend with these people. We mostly look on those friendships with a fondness and soft gaze, but also a sadness when the reality is met that these times spent with them are no longer things to look forward to but rather memories of things past. And yes, we can meet up occasionally and even have a night where we pick up right where we left off, but the distance between us means that the things we once had in common aren't there anymore and instead of living a shared life, we have two separate ones, losing a key element that formed the bond between us.

This has happened to me on several occasions. I have, along the way, picked up friends that I still speak to and regularly see regardless of the different situations, namely One-And-Only-Daniela and Oldest-Friend-Cafrin, and then others who I will see between 1 to 4 times a year, but overall my past is filled with awesome people who I still love and adore and who I only have distant memories of and maybe only ever will.

And then there is one other group. It's a smaller group of people where there are actual regrets forged out of the memories of friends who are distant for a reason other than simply moving apart. It was a more aggressive and sudden break. One that spurred out of hurt and anger. One that, after all this time, still hasn't been fully resolved. These are the saddest of memories; the ones that hold the only regrets I still have in my life. Occasionally my little reflective app will throw up photos of these people; happy photos of close and strong friendships from times where we lived out of each others pockets and spent every day together. To look at these photos, even after all this time when there are no more hard feelings or hurt and life has well and truly moved on, can be the toughest thing to do. It means that you are looking at nothing but photos of great nights and happy memories but can't see them with any other eyes than those of sadness and regret because you know how those nights ended. You know what happened to mean that, although there are plenty of photos from 7 years ago on there of that time, there are none after that. You look at the smiling faces looking into the camera and think they are lucky for not knowing what's ahead, but you do and it's sad.

It's good to look back at life and see the places and people that we once were. I love memories and, being a regular blogger, I know I will cherish the fact that I have documented so much of my life to look back on in the future years when my life has once again changed and I am in another different place. However, it's important that we don't live in the past. There will always be things that we aren't proud of from our memories, or times that are better than the life we currently have, or even regrets that we would give anything to resolve, but to dwell on these things won't do any of us any good. We can appreciate them, or mourn for them, or remember them daily, but we also need to take a moment to look at what we have now and make sure we appreciate this time before it becomes just another memory to reflect over and wish we did differently.

I've made it no secret that my past has not been a happy one in terms of my emotions and the battle that I've had. However, seeing these photos I can see that there was so much happiness to be had, so much goodness and positivity and love, I was just unable to appreciate them fully. One of my Timehop messages, showing a status I put up from last year, popped up this week. It was a status of me remarking on a change in  my mood. It was the point that I finally began to climb out of the fog that had been my life throughout all the photos and statuses that had been entered previously. I remember, when I wrote it, feeling suspicious for what this gradual elation in mood meant and how long it would last. Looking back now, I feel blessed and happy to know the positive turn it caused in my life. This status marks the one year anniversary of my recovery, which means that I have officially been healthy for the longest time (by a long stretch) in 12 years. That's a memory that not only causes me to look back in fondness, but also causes me to look forward in excitement. I have come such a long way in just 365 days. What could all my future years ahead of me bring, I wonder? Truth is, I don't know... but, freakin' hell, am I excited about it.

Peace out my lovelies

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