Now is the Time to Indulge in Your Past

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There’s a current trend on Facebook where people are being asked to post their first ever “profile picture”. Most people have been on Facebook for at least a few years now, so that means going into the past and digging out a long forgotten photo of yourself.

I imagine scenes where people are finding that first Facebook photo and being hit with mild shock. “What is my hair like!” Or “What was I wearing?”. Or maybe it’s a nice surprise. Finding the photo where the baby was covered in yoghurt, smiling away. Or the one where he’s cuddling that soft toy that never left his side. That same child is now riding a bike to school and you put that soft toy into a charity bag a few months ago.

The point is you are going into the past and reminiscing. Reminiscing is weighty word, which sounds full of importance. It drops the past off on your doorstep and you are left there staring at it, wondering if it’s real.

The definition of reminisce is to “indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events”.

The definition of indulge is to “allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of.”

Combining those two definitions means that reminiscing is when you allow yourself to enjoy the past. A nice way to describe the experience.

When people indulge in things these days, it tends to be associated with a negative or unhealthy habit. “We indulged a bit and ate that entire box of chocolate. Now we don’t feel so good.”

Reminiscing, on the other hand, is a wonderful, healthy habit. We should grab the opportunity to indulge when it arises. It lets us see light in the past when maybe the present is looking a bit dark.

Sometimes we don’t “allow” ourselves these moments though, do we? These days there is no time for such things. We are all in a rush. Everything around us is new. We refresh our Facebook Feed to see “What’s New”. If it’s not new, then it’s useless to us. No one wants to read old news.

That’s precisely why these points in time are unique and why they should be appreciated. Everything does stop for a few minutes. The background noise disappears and you stare at that photo of your son for 10 minutes. You remember that day in the park when you pushed him higher and higher on the swing and he laughed so hard. You have a sense that you should maybe be more grateful for those days.

My wife and I were looking through some old photos of the kids the other day. “I can’t remember the boys ever being that young!” I said. I was only half joking. Time goes by so fast that it scares me. Unfortunately, looking after kids is not an endless series of calm peaceful moments where we gather around in quiet reflection in candlelit rooms. (Sorry to ruin the surprise for any expecting parents out there!)

These chances to reminisce don’t come along very often and when they do, they almost knock you off your feet with the weight of emotion. Baby photos can reduce grown men to tears. Or so I’ve heard.

I know Facebook trends can be a bit superficial and cheesy at times, but I think this is a good one. Anything that makes people stop and appreciate the past has to be a positive thing.

So once this trend fades away, try to keep it going. Every few weekends, gather the kids around the table (or computer screen) and dig out the old photos. Do it while your young kids are still young enough to enjoy seeing baby photos of themselves. Or if they are teenagers, do it anyway. Even just for the comedy value.

Go on, indulge yourself!

2 Comments

  1. Time does go by terrifyingly fast when you have kids. 🙂 Great post! Most of us don’t take enough time to reflect on worthwhile memories.

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