When was the last time you went through every single photo in your Facebook profile? I did recently and the results were a bit unnerving.
By and large, as is oft the case with social media, the photos expressed pure joy and happiness. Contrast this with my actual emotional state at the time of each photo, and you get quite the yin-yang. Take for example the high school photo of a gang of my friends playing baseball together. The veneer-level is a bunch of young kids playing a sport they love with the people they like, but it was plagued by the ugliest emotion of all, jealousy, over the fact I was never the best player among my friends.
Though I had a touch of nostalgia and romanticism reviewing my past experiences published for the world to see, I mostly felt disappointed that I wasn’t able to enjoy each positive experience to its fullest extent, shrouded by a cloud of insecurities and needless worries. With selfies like these, who needs enemies?
“The good times” were actually that good, if only we were able to appreciate and enjoy them as such in the moment. I won’t derail this post about Buddhism and mindfulness, but it’s all too clear we truly only have the present moment (although you can always use the present moment to look back at the past in any light you like, positive or negative – it’s all so confusing isn’t it).
The value of this exercise is to inevitably realize that you have a choice to ensure you don’t keep making the same mistakes. What can you do to ensure you live in full gratification of your present life so that when you look back at your photos you don’t have all the asterisks of:
“I didn’t realize how good I had it.”
“I wish I was there to enjoy it versus being trapped in my head.”
“I mastered discontent for the last 10 years, hopefully, the next 10 will be different.”
We only get one high school experience. One college experience. Only so many weddings and birthday celebrations. A bagful of parties and events worth sharing. There is a finite cap on how many events we get in life (although the longevity anti-aging pundits are attempting to push that envelope). The variable is how we choose to emotionally engage all the while. The Facebook photo review is a call to arms to dedicate the rest of life to not be like Mark Twain; know fewer troubles and experience more bliss (woefully easier said than done, but awareness and intention is step one).
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”