On That Day – Growing Old On Facebook

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“On This Day” is a feature on Facebook where you can view what you posted on that day a year ago, or two years ago or however long ago you began your Facebook life.

I haven’t quite decided if this is a good feature or a cringe-worthy one.

For those of us who have been on FB since the “early days” of 2007, it’s kind of like a time capsule. I mean, let’s face it, when we all started tweeting or face booking, we had no idea what we were doing. How many of you click that feature and see that way back in the day you posted “On my way to do laundry.”  “Feeling tired.”  “Bored at work.” Come on, admit it!

Besides embarrassment at reading those silly status updates, I do get a kick out of seeing what I thought was newsworthy at certain times of my life, compared to now.

The most glaring difference is my blog had began as a fitness site where I documented my progress to get on stage to do my first (and only) bodybuilding competition in the category of Figure. I posted all my progress photos, I wrote about my training, the foods I was eating, and how I was feeling about getting on stage.

So for about 2 or 3 years, the majority of my posts are all fitness related. People seemed to like them but, looking back, that’s all my life was.

Prior to that, I shared your typical funny memes and cat videos. Amazing that we were enthralled with stupid cat videos for so long. (Okay I admit I still watch those from time to time!)

And before that I posted about training for a marathon while living in Chicago in between going to the bars and watching Cubs games. (Let’s not talk about the random partying/drinking photos of myself I have since removed from Facebook. Not a good look.)

What I have found the most interesting is the change in tastes and what I find important enough to “Share” on my “timeline.” When my Mom was sick with cancer, I posted asking for prayers for her. I shared memories and photos of her after she passed and continue to do so on special anniversaries. And for any of us who have lost a loved one, there’s nothing worse than clicking “On This Day” and seeing posts celebrating a “cancer-free” diagnosis. Only to know that a short time later, you’ll be asking for prayers again. And then later on sharing memories of that same person, now passed on.

So for those particular moments, I have bittersweet feelings, as I’m sure many of us do.

But then there’s really dramatic changes that are really cool to see:

I look back in time and see that I went from posting satirical articles from The Onion and Funny Or Die to sharing homilies from my priests.

I went from sharing fitness articles on how to sculpt your dream body to sharing videos on aborted baby parts for sale.

I went from “sitting on the couch on a lazy Sunday” to bragging about my PSR kids reciting  the Apostles Creed by heart.

Who does that?!

I’ve written about this already several times (here and here to name a few) so I’m sure people are tired of hearing it but Theology of the Body had a huge hand in this transformation. I would also say that my mother’s passing was a catalyst in this shift in thinking as well. And overall, it’s been the most positive and exciting experience I’ve ever had the fortune to go through.

But it’s also just a matter of getting older and growing up. Facebook itself “grew up” as well. It changed and shifted the way we communicate and share information. Now people get their news with a click of a button and can share it instantly. Again, is this a good or a bad thing? Sometimes I’m not so sure it’s all that great.

And while I’m forever grateful I don’t have to see status updates from my friends who are doing their laundry or watching tv, I sometimes get a little nostalgic for those simpler days.

I could always quit social media for good of course. I’m sure we’ve all considered it from time to time. But instead of quitting it for good, I try to and take my own advice:

No matter what you post, make sure it’s something you wouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed about. Of course this should be the universal social media rule for all of us, right? But what I mean, and this is going to sound morbid but hear me out – Just in case something should happen to me, I tend to think “What would I be okay with other folks seeing on my wall if it’s the last thing I ever posted?”

I know, totally morbid but…it’s something to think about. I suppose I would want people to see something positive on my “wall.” Something to make them think. Something to make them change their hearts perhaps on a certain issue. Or something to make them cry happy tears or have a good laugh.

So go ahead and take a look at the last thing you commented on, the last video you shared, or the last status update you typed. Maybe go ahead and use that “Edit” or “Delete” option. Remember, years from now, you may look back On This Day and say “What was I thinking?!”

Ahhh the ups and downs of social media.

 

 

2 thoughts on “On That Day – Growing Old On Facebook

  1. At age 55, I’m glad I haven’t had time or the inclination to enter into Facebook … I may someday, who knows! I am also happy I didn’t have an iPhone or computer when our children were small as I would not have given them my undivided attention. I was a stay at home Mom and TRULY with them. I’m practically a dinosaur complete with having learned shorthand! Reminds me in the early 90s when all the Moms were talking about preschool (deciding yes or no) and talking about it as if you DIDN’T enroll your child they would be behind other children and be at a disadvantage (with the unspoken fear of ‘pretty much their whole lives!’). Decisions based on fear … what will my child miss out on?

    Just read this interview and realized and am blessed to have been led on this path (albeit unknowingly!) … and it’s a great description of what has happened to YOUR Facebook.

    How do you define spiritual strength?

    Fr. Keating: It is the capacity to act from the center of our being, rather than acting from our emotional reactions to events.

    Spiritual strength is the capacity to respond to events from the center of compassion and genuine concern, to relate to people where they are, and to accept ourselves and our weaknesses in the confidence that God will help us to sift through our weaknesses and let go of behaviors that are obstacles to relating to truth, to other people, ourselves, and ultimate reality.

    • I’m 56, and quit Facebook, about 3 years ago. Only because I get pulled into other people way too much. Which takes my focus off Jesus.
      I use to look back into my life mentally in my mind, and go over and over. I also would worry what do these people think of me. And recently the scripture verse about Jesus telling the disciples anyone who goes out to plow a field and looks back is not fit for the kingdom. So I try to stop that backward thinking because for me it serves no purpose.
      As for remembering your mom that is a different story. Memories are beats from your heart. I too lost my mom in 1992 to cancer and she is still with me. Actually sometimes I think she is really with me guiding my footsteps.
      What Father Keaton (above) said was the crux of everything. I have longed for that center, where I could respond to others from it. And longed for people in my life to be that way too. “Let deep speak to deep”. Henri Nouwen said that, in his book, “Inner Voice of Love”. Great post Michelle!

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