Facebook is always something of a mixed blessing. There are posts that make you laugh and posts that make you shake your head. There are conversations that cement friendships and conversations that end them. There are trends that you look forward to and trends that make you want to poke yourself in the eye with a rusty spork. Throwback Thursday is a trend that can sometimes be both.
I love it when an old friend posts a TBT photo of themselves at the age when I knew them best: high school friends posting high school photos, college chums posting college photos, childhood buddies posting childhood photos. The memories of our shared friendship come rushing back. But sometimes an old friend posts a photo of one of their KIDS at the age when I knew the old friend best. And to be perfectly honest, that kind of freaks me out a little. Because it reminds me that I’m growing older. (Not old, just older.)
Oddly enough, when a friend who’s around my age has a birthday, it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t remind me of my own birthday. But when their children start having milestones, like turning 12 (or 16, or 21), or getting their driver’s license, or going off to college, it reminds me of how quickly time is passing by. I remember so clearly passing all those milestones myself – but wasn’t that just last week? Or at most, last year? The number on the calendar doesn’t bother me; it’s all that time that’s gone racing by that has me worried.
Time really does speed up the older you get. Remember when you were a kid and summer vacation seemed to last for years? Now that you’re an adult, blink and you missed it. Spending an hour on the playground felt like a month. But when you steal a moment to watch your kids playing on the playground, it seems to flash by in a heartbeat. It used to seem like a century between each birthday; now you can’t believe you’re having a birthday because didn’t you just have one two weeks ago? Time speeds up as it goes by.
But that’s also a reason that I love seeing the old throwback photos: it helps me remember back when time stretched on endlessly. The times when nothing existed in the world besides riding your bike through the woods, or sledding down an icy hill, or playing hopscotch, or having a pillow fight. The times when all you focused on was the fun you were having right now. No worries about what would happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year. No thinking about your future, or trying to solve problems before they happen, or stressing about plans. Just enjoying the moment.
That’s something I need to remember how to do: to just enjoy the moment. There are so many wonderful moments in my life that I spoil by worrying, or being distracted, or by thinking ahead, when I should just take a moment to stop and enjoy the now. So instead of letting Throwback Thursday remind me how quickly time is passing, I’m going to try to use it to remind myself to stop and enjoy it. Maybe that will slow it down, just a little.
And even if it doesn’t, at least it might remind me that it’s a good thing time didn’t stop at that particular moment…