Oh my gosh, on this day in 2013, not only did I sit down to book a trip to a conference in Boulder and instead wind up booking a trip to Germany, but I reserved a spot for a different conference a few months later in Southern California.
Really? I’m wowed by my globe-trotting self.
Because lately my travel ledger is empty. In the ebb and flow of independent contractor life, I’m just surging out of an ebb. Travel has been on hold. But there is something so satisfying about seeing this travel moment come up in my Facebook Memories.
Lately I’ve been getting a great boost from those “On This Day” posts and in turn encouraging my coaching clients to pay heed to them. They remind us when times were worse or better, how long we’ve been complaining about the same things, how much joy we get from things like art exhibits and absorbing books, and even that nice observation someone made about us.
So often we seek our motivation or inspiration from external sources — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but Facebook Memories can be a powerful tool to self-motivate because it shows us how we’ve been living and what we’ve done that felt special.
Sure, sometimes you’re going to see how angry you were at current events at the time or cringe at how overly clever you were trying to be in a snarky quip or (guilty as charged) how many photos of the New York skyline you post. However, just as often you will be amazed at how much pain you were in after surgery four years ago today because now you can hike for hours or dance into the night.
I currently facilitate a weekly writing group at a local senior citizens’ center and often I’ll share a capsule, anonymously, of how the class went. When I see some of these posts one or two years later I am delighted and even in awe of the students’ progress and evolved spirit. It reminds me of what I’ve cultivated there and how deep the trust goes. That simply has to spill over into my day, doesn’t it?
Sometimes when I scroll Memories I marvel at how in a zone I was at a given time and I try to deconstruct why. What else was going on in my life at that time? There was one period where I saw photos of myself that seemed radiant, particularly noteworthy because I typically don’t enjoy having my picture taken. Upon some thought, I realized I had been in love at the time. Sigh. Is it time to date again?
I like this nudge to self-reflection. It feels organic.
Oh, look, there I was in Florence. But how sad that the friend who took the photo has since died. I stop to remember her, if just for a moment, singing to Puccini as we drove through verdant fields in Tuscany. Oh wow, there’s the day I bought the colorful Frida Kahlo curtain at the New York Botanical Garden; it is now a treasure that hangs in my home.
Bottom line, we live through a lot. If we welcome apt reminders of that, we’re better for it.
This column originally appeared on the writer’s blog, UnfetteredExpression.com.