Maybe it’s easier to think in retrospect that times were better back then, especially when you scroll through old photos on Facebook. For the most part, each picture sheds visibility on all of the happiness that was obscuring everything else at that moment. The anguish. The anxiety. All of the above and so much more.
Family. Friends. Exes. The latter might make you wonder what would happen if you had tried just a bit harder to fight for what you had at the moment because those smiles on your face feel like they can’t be replicated these days. Still, you’ve learned, or rather you’re still learning, to move on. Like how time moves on with each swipe of a finger. How five minutes of scrolling can span across five years.
When you look at where you are now, it might not exactly meet your expectations. However, you have to remember that expectations grow over time. You may not be where you want to be right now, but when you think about who you were in those pictures and how you thought back then, you know you’ve exceeded those old expectations. You’re reminded of the strange phases you survived and went through, as well as all of the glorious social awkwardness your younger self basked in. You’ve grown, despite whatever “failures” your occasionally self-deprecating mind may concoct. You also need to remember that failures are just lessons in disguise. At the very least, they’re an entertaining story to tell.
It’s important for you to recognize that the unsightly parts of your personal history weren’t archived in Facebook’s database. The solo drives to nowhere, alone, past midnight. The cold bed sheets, clung tightly around your skin like Saran Wrap, as you aimlessly searched the stars for the answers to life. The vacuous gaze imprisoned inside of your eyes when you’d lack any sense of self-worth. Perhaps, some of the light in your eyes taken from those Facebook photos was simply a reflection of the camera’s flash.
Life wasn’t perfect back then, and it still isn’t. When you alter the flow of your mind, it becomes possible to apply that attitude toward the present. You might not have been completely content with life at that time, but you still smiled. In the same vein, life isn’t as bad as how you feel when you’re at your lowest. Even though you may not be where you necessarily want to be, you’re progressing. You’re moving forward, even if it’s only by small units of measurement such as getting up out of bed in the morning or meeting up with a friend. You should only be seriously concerned when you start to become completely immobile. Progress can be compared to the law of inertia: An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.
It’s nice to reflect on the past, but it’s never good to dwell on it. Those words might echo in your head long after you’ve been summoned by the late evening hours and the loneliness and malaise that often accompany it. Moments like these remind you of those undocumented memories, the ones absent from Facebook, and how you’ll more than likely feel tempted to foolishly look back and think about how much happier you were at this exact moment.