I'm fascinated with the passage of time. I'm fascinated with aging and moving forward and seeing how time is marked by all kinds of stuff. One of my favorite mechanics in TV Shows is when there's a time jump, where you suddenly catch up with the characters a year or so later and see what's changed in that time.
I love tracing the passage of time through something like Instagram, looking at how I've progressed from a year ago. It's super fun. If there's a moment that I remember fondly, I want to try and recapture those feelings again in some way, and posting it is as close as I can get usually.
Also, I find when I don't have anything to post on Instagram, I go into the archives and mine the past for some material rather than searching out making something new. This isn't uncommon. In a way, our culture has Throwback Thursday Syndrome, where all we want to do is look back and worry about the past.
Part of the reason the past seems so nice is because at the time, we were probably more worried about the future. We are looking back at things that were happening in that moment, and if we spent that time looking back as well, that memory would have never existed. To create memories we have to be moving forward and we can't be looking back.
The reason Star Wars was so great is because it was attempting to be new and different, but now we are spending all of our time mining the greatness from Star Wars instead of starting a new revolutionary franchise. Moving forward is impossible if we're looking back. I'm not here to talk about reboot culture, however, I mainly want to focus on the micro-nostalgia we are guilty of almost every day in internet-land.
As of the time I'm writing this, the last photo on my Instagram feed is a throwback to Hawaii in 2011. I posted it at 2am that day after spending a couple hours scrolling through old photos. That's become a common past time for me, and it needs to stop. Spending hours looking back isn't productive, in fact, it's the opposite of productive. Every once in a while I reference my 5 years of 365 projects. You know why? Because I haven't really done anything since that ended 6 months ago.
Throwbacks are for losers.
For someone like me, posting something like a #throwbackthursday is filler. It's a way to post without having to do the work of making something new. It's like that episode of Black Mirror, "The Entire History of You", where everyone has an implant that allows you to record and playback your memories constantly. What do the people in this story do? They are endlessly consumed in the past that it ultimately destroys their lives.
We live like this to a smaller degree: sure, we don't have implants in our heads (yet) recording everything, but we record everything through other means. If I want to get lost in my memories, all I have to do is pull out my phone and get lost in the past for hours. It's a drug.
It's the ultimate waste of time, literally, you're wasting the time you're given by looking back at the time you had. You ever meet that guy who brags about his degree even though he graduated years ago? Well, he's bragging about his degree because he hasn't done anything in the time since getting it, otherwise he'd be bragging about that huge deal he closed yesterday. We romanticize our past accomplishments, and as a result, have very few future accomplishments.
After seeing the way I've gotten consumed in nostalgia lately, I'm now anti-throwback. It's a symptom of lack of growth and complacency; looking back in awe or anguish is the fastest way to depression and an unhappy life. Nostalgia is addicting, and can quickly turn into something much more consuming.