Throwback Thursdays (#TBT) has been a long-standing staple on various social media platforms since 2003. Every week since then, users have taken to their respective social media platforms to post pictures of them as they were.
The popularity of the trend can be attributed to our desire to wax nostalgic about some of our life’s most impressionable events. We never really need an excuse to reminisce on the love we had, childhood pictures that make us feel all gushy inside or anything else from our past that evokes whatever kind of emotional response we need to feel at the time.
Believe it or not, participating in throwback Thursday can be seen as a form of journaling. Journaling provides us the opportunity to heal from past hurts, allows us to track our growth and in some instances, it can lead to an overall increased sense of happiness.
Remember that piece of trash you were dating back in 2008? Facebook does, and now it, unlike Twitter and Instagram, will provide you with an annual reminder of his piece-of-shit ass until you delete the picture. Outside of the rage you might feel upon seeing the reminder, it presents you an opportunity to think about the ways in which you’ve changed in the time that’s passed since you first posted the picture.
How many people have you dated since him? What lessons did you learn from the relationship? Is he still alive, and if so, how tempted are you to find out what he’s up to now? By now you’ve already faced the fact that the relationship is over and up until Facebook reminded you of him, you probably haven’t tried to keep a tab on him in quite some time.
Remember that trip to Punta Cana in 2011? What the hell were you wearing and whose lap were you sitting on? You’ll think about all of these things and maybe a few others as you log in to discover this month's Essentials: On This Day.
One of the most helpful things about Facebook’s reminders is that they take you back to things you’ve probably forgotten about. Chances are you won’t revisit any of the New Year’s resolutions you’ve made since you publicly proclaimed them and you might find yourself a little embarrassed at the fact that you shared them to begin with.
Did you lose that weight? Did you write that book? Did you start that business or learn that other language posted about learning on January 1, 2016? Don’t worry about it if you haven’t because sometimes life happens and priorities change, but the reminder could potentially reignite a passion you totally forgot about.
The nostalgia of throwback Thursday can strengthen our sense of personal continuity- which is an important part of identities. When we look at it this way, that picture of you and your sister in your Easter suit and dress represent more than your growth, it reminds you of how grandma popped you for falling asleep in church that day and of the amazing Easter basket you got from aunt Julia.
And, just the same, the picture of your first day of fourth grade takes you the events that happened before the photo was taken. From there you remember the way that your dad woke you up extra early to help you iron your clothes and the breakfast you all shared. You remember the anxiety you felt about whether or not you’d like your teacher and who you’d sit with at lunch.
Throwback Thursday, as a form of nostalgia, allows us to revisit some of the most comforting times of our lives. It can remind us of the most stressful times as well. It also presents the fine line existing between progression and retreating into what some would classify as a romanticized past. The thing about us is that no matter who we are, we sometimes long for that thing that we once had. This is why we allow ourselves to drift backwards in time as we rehash the most exciting parts of our past. We like to remember when just as much as we like to remember when.