‘Let’s do the Timehop again’

By Lisa Maria Boyles

I aspire to be a good journaler (is that a word?). I even designed my own journals that have exactly the sections on each page for the things I want to capture — priorities, affirmations, watching/reading, top news, days notes, etc.

But sometimes the day just slips away, and I find much of the real estate on my journal pages empty when I flip back through.

Timehop is my back-up journal of sorts. Sometimes, when I’m in a special moment, it might be too disruptive to stop and write about what I’m doing, to analyze instead of experiencing it. And by the time I get to a reflective moment in that day (if that rare beast ever appears), I might have forgotten what I wanted to preserve.

But it takes almost no time at all, in the moment, to snap a photo, pair it with a few words (or not) and save that future memory to Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes what I post isn’t for others, even though others may see it. Sometimes I’m saving a snapshot in time that I want to remember for years to come.

You connect the Timehop app to the social media platforms you use, and then every day Timehop revisits what you’ve posted on that particular day in past years. It even captures photos added to my digital catalog, so the memories that pop up in my Timehop predate my social media footprint.

Of course, revisiting the past can be a double-edged sword. Timehop brings it all back — exes, loved ones who have died, happy thoughts about a job that maybe you got laid off from. You have to be ready for that, otherwise, it can hit you like a sucker punch, below the belt.

I need to prepare for that this summer, when memories of my trip to Denver last year come back around. I was in Denver the last time I spoke to my brother Sean before he died.

All of those memories, those people now gone, those past careers are part of our story, the fabric of our life.

Paula Wethington wrote recently, “Social media is not a reliable way to save precious family memories.”:

Go ahead and write that Facebook post if you want to trigger a TimeHop bookmark for a year or two later, but … save what you want to remember of this time in a more permanent format.

I get that. Platforms go in and out of favor, rise and then fall away, maybe disappear altogether. But in this moment, I do enjoy my Timehopping, my quick daily stroll through years past.

I should do better about preserving those moments in my own more permanent way, whether it be in my journal or in the pages of this blog. Maybe as I begin to write more again, I can use those snapshots from the past as writing prompts, to revisit what made that time and place special.

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