Throwback Thursday Blues

“The art of Throwback Thursday is selecting an appropriately nostalgia-inducing picture – from a different era of your life.” According to Digital Trends, that’s what #TBT (or #throwbackthursday) is all about.

The concept started a couple or three years ago, but it’s really taken off in the past few months thanks to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the multitude of entertainment personalities who are getting into the game. Now, what most people don’t know is that there are a few rules about posting period pics:

  1. They must be at least five years old;
  2. The subject depicted should reflect another time and place, i.e. “days gone by”; and
  3. Only one or two pictures should be posted per Thursday.

I am guilty of playing along. I’ve been rummaging through albums of old pictures; paging through the five decades of my life. In doing so, I found that processing ten-year-increments at a time displays interesting life cycle events, fashion trends, and generational themes. The years from my birth to my ninth birthday, for example, were during the 60s; from ten to nineteen it was the 70s; from twenty to twenty-nine it was the 80s; and so on.

Images of my childhood years seem to reflect a “kinder and gentler” time, despite the fact that they included several relocations. The numerous moves caused us to rely on each other as a family unit and to learn to adapt to new environments. The photos are like passport stamps from New York to Boston to Maryland to Israel and back to New York. Ironically, those years at home with my parents and siblings were comparatively short; yet those early experiences together – and those blood-bonds – shaped the person I am and relationships I have today. When I gaze at myself in the mirror now, and then look at my face from back then, I know that little girl is still part of me.

My teenage years – up to the age of twenty-one – produced candid shots that exposed the pursuit of new things and independence. Plays, sporting events, youth group activities, dances, college activities…all with friends and a boyfriend. (Very few family faces to be found!) It was an era of “separating” but not quite “fitting in.” I remember disco, Michael Jackson, MTV, legally drinking at eighteen, road trips, and Jordache jeans. (But I’m not sure I miss those years…)

The visuals then change again. In looking through my wedding album, for example, I didn’t realize how many family members are now gone. I see their faces and wonder what they’d say about the world we live in today. I regret that I never really spent time learning from their life experiences, but then I see me – with curly permed hair – and wonder who that girl was. And the groom? He was a baby; too young to be getting married. But those photos kicked off twenty years that flew by at warped speed.

In sifting through pictures of my children as babies, I find it hard to believe that they could be having their own babies some time soon. (Uh, NOT you, Jess!) I never guessed that spontaneous snapshots of our little family at the beach, scuba diving, skiing, at dinners, or at various other events could tell such a meaningful tale of togetherness, growing up, having fun, and love.

So many of these images have evoked long forgotten wonderful and happy memories, while others have brought bittersweet wistfulness. Maybe that’s the whole point of Throwback Thursday…a day to look back and reflect upon where we came from as we plan to make new memories on Friday.


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