We live in a world where people are becoming increasingly focused on the self. The rising generations have brought what we call “selfie culture” and all that comes with it: self-portraits, self-care… an overall self-obsession. While these things can be harmless at times (…and self-care is an important aspect of life!), they can also make us lose focus on those around us, especially our families. If we think too much about ourselves, we risk forgetting those who love us the most, those who have come before us and given us all that we have in life.
Taking the time to remember the past is vital. Here are three good reasons for you to carve out some time to sit down and leaf through your old photos or watch some home movies this weekend.
- Remembering helps us feel connected with others, and now more than ever, we are longing for that. Whether it’s a product of selfie-culture or social distancing, many people feel disconnected from their loved ones right now. Most of us are not having family Sunday dinners or getting together to play with nieces and nephews as much as we used to. Circumstances demand that we spend more time alone. Many people are experiencing depression and loneliness from this lack of human connection. We must be careful to fight against feeling lonesome. In the past couple of years, mental health professionals have declared that we live in a “loneliness epidemic.” Feeling alone in the world is as bad for your overall health (mental AND physical) as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day! How you feel has a profound effect on how well your body works. While this used to be something that disproportionately affected the elderly, people of all ages are feeling its effects in the age of COVID. So what can we do? In addition to talking on the phone and video-chatting, why don’t we take some time to go through our photos and home movies? Doing so is sure to bring back memories of simpler times. Looking at photos will remind us of people and events we may have forgotten. Ask yourself, “Why did I think this was important enough to snap a picture?” and you will feel connected with the people who are part of that memory.
- Remembering helps bring us happiness during difficult times. Again, whether it’s because of loneliness or another reason, chances are that your life is not without challenges at the present moment. How many times have you heard someone say (or felt in your own heart) that 2020 has been the most challenging year of life? If it is hard for you to find little pieces of sunshine in each day, you may have to create your own sunshine. Find one thing to look forward to each day, even if is small or insignificant. Maybe you do not have the time to cook an elaborate home-cooked dinner for yourself every night, but you do have five minutes to look at a photo that brings back happy memories. This is an activity that brings mindfulness and presence of mind. Again, this positive mental health practice will show both mental and physical health benefits. Creating five minutes of sunshine will help you see the silver linings in a difficult time.
- Remembering helps us press forward into the future. How could thinking about the past help you move forward? We have all heard the phrase, “History repeats itself.” You face new challenges every day, but you are not the first person to ever face hard things. Your parents and grandparents did hard things. Your earlier ancestors did, too. They experienced challenges but still smiled and had fun. Looking at photos and videos of those who came before us can remind us of the strength and perseverance that they must have had in order to get through life and provide new life to their progenitors. Perhaps when you remember your grandmother, you think about the challenges she faced in her life and how she still pressed forward. You can cultivate that same perseverance. Take hold of the strength of your ancestors to face your own adversities in the future!
Let us help you get through this difficult time of life. Let us digitize your home movies so you can host a family home movie party on Zoom. Let us upload your photographs so you can remind your cousins about the hairstyles they had twenty years ago. Let us help you find new, fun ways to not only stay connected with loved ones right now, but to enhance the relationships that you did not know could become stronger in a “loneliness epidemic.” Let us remember together.