I downloaded the app Timehop, over a year or so ago, purely because I wanted to see photos that I knew would either make me laugh out loud or cringe to death. Yes thank you 15 year old self who shouldn’t have been let loose on Facebook. WOW!
But amongst all of the hilarious images and statuses, every now and again, this tech memory lane will give me a slight pang….
And by pang, I mean that ouch feeling you get when you’re just innocently walking down the street and then you see your ex with his new girlfriend. You both lock eyes and within seconds you can feel a rush of anxiety, jealousy and sadness run through your body – and that my friends is what I mean by pang.
Take yesterday’s Timehop post, which the app kindly notified me was one that I “shouldn’t miss”. Eagerly i clicked on the app hoping it would be another hilarious university photo to share, but it was actually a photo of all my family together, six years ago. In the image, everyone is laughing and to this day I can still remember the reason why. Everyone including my now late-uncle and my now divorced mum and dad, are arm-in-arm, smiling at the camera. PANG!
An odd sensation creeped over me. I remember, like it was yesterday, what a lovely day that was. All my family together, having a great time. I desperately wanted to love and share the photo, but I just couldn’t. If I’m honest, I think it’s hard to accept that that’s not my life anymore – it’s just a really happy memory, which is now tainted by the reality of my life today.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Timehop. Only this morning the app shared a photo of me with my old schoolfriend, Jamie, behaving in what was then our usual mischievous way. The photo was seven years ago and I couldn’t believe that was how long ago it had been since I had seen him. Jamie and I hardly speak to each other now, unless over social media, but it was nice to send him a “Do you remember how funny this was?” message.
There is nothing better than a good old reminisce. In fact, I love having an app that instantly makes me smile and reminds me of how hard I was laughing when the photo was taken. And for that very reason, is why I won’t delete Timehop.
But why is it, that I do a quick prayer every time I click on the app? Honestly, it’s like anxiety builds up knowing that I could potentially see something that is going to make me ponder all afternoon.
According to chartered psychologist Anita Abrams, the way in which you respond to this sort of nostalgia depends on your current situation:
‘How nostalgia affects you depends where you are in your life right now. I don’t think you can underestimate the amount of emotions that are triggered by looking into the past. Trips to memory lane can provoke a lot, even if you’re a very level headed un-sentimental type of person.’
Ah, so that’s why I always pray to the Timehop God!
Please Timehop don’t share something that I don’t want to see. I don’t want to see all the friends that I’ve lost touch/fallen out with, or the exes who broke my heart or loved ones who are sadly not here anymore. I just don’t want to remember those times.
Anita claims that receiving unnecessary memories is emotionally overwhelming for all of us. It can cause anxiety and in some cases can spur depression. However Anita says that the only cure is to either delete Timehop or reevaluate how we think:
‘We all have the power in what we want to remember. We all have the power to exclude negative memories’.
And I guess my friends, that is the beauty of life, or the app in this case. We can never run away from memories – even if we bury them down deep, they’ll always come back to surface.
Life is all about accepting the good, the bad, the ugly and the sad. Yes we did date that disgusting f*** boy and yes you’re best friend in year 9 did turn out to be a massive bitch. And one day, if it hasn’t happened already, someone you love may not be around to share the good memories with you.
Our past is something that we have to live with, even if we don’t want Timehop to remind us……