Yesterday I had this idea for a post, and it was a really good idea. I started pulling it together slowly on my phone on my long commute, where most of my ideas emerge, putting a few words in a draft, and eventually we made it to my stop in Washington Heights, and I closed the app, with every intention of revisiting today. Later that night, I posted a photo on Instagram for this yoga challenge I’m doing (#nerdalert), and after posting, decided to look through old photos to see if I could notice any progress in that pose in the past few months. As I started stalking my own Instagram feed, I reached a point from early summer that made me pause, catch my breath a little and choke back a few tears. I kept scrolling, trying not to get overwhelmed by some of the photos, which feel like a lifetime away in just a few short months, and eventually found the photo I was looking for. The timestamp said it was 32 weeks ago, just 32 short weeks, and I let a tear roll down my left cheek and onto the cat as I realized how far I’ve come in those eight months.
It’s funny how quickly I felt overwhelmed by all the changes in 2015. In living through this year so far, it’s felt like a lot of the same, same-same but different, growing but stale, little changes that don’t add up. There’s something so stark about the pseudo-reality of an Instagram feed that can bring you back to earth real quick. Yoga does that; it brings out the absolute best and the absolute worst in you, it makes you feel like you’re doing everything wrong when really you’re learning baby steps to do it right. Looking at a few photos I could see physical changes in me – look how much more aligned my splits are! I can do that move without blocks now! – but it’s the mental differences that caused the tear to run down my cheek, because the more I scrolled, the less I recognized the person posting photos all these months back.
I can’t explain it, but I felt sad when I got back far enough in the feed. Maybe it’s the mental shift that I’ve had for the past few months in looking forward to the big change next year, but there was something so raw about that girl, that maybe wouldn’t come through in the photos but it certainly came through as I recalled posting each one. There are the photos from the NP trip to Atlantic City in February, just before I started this job, months before I cut my hair, and one of the last times all six of us were together, save for the big wedding last month, of course. There were the photos from my parent’s house in April, relaxing weekends cut short by hospital visits and family emergencies. Even the photos from early summer, where no one is married and we have months of warm weather and rooftops ahead of us, it’s like looking at all the possibilities and reconciling them with what reality turned into in the end.
The great post I wanted to write started with the opener “I’m starting to feel that I’m losing my best friend, or maybe I’m just realizing now that we’re already lost.” Maybe I’ll get around to posting (or well, finishing) that whole post one day, but it seems silly to try and do so now. It seems… wrong? or maybe just more sad, to try and reminisce the way I wanted to after reliving 2015 through an Instagram feed, because I’d be reminiscing for something that can’t exist any longer. Not because we don’t want it to, or I suppose I can only speak for myself there. Of course I’d want it to exist, and I’d love to go back to the way things were. But then again, I wouldn’t want that at all. If I can take anything away from reminiscing the way I did last night, with a slow scroll of an Instagram feed, it’s that things change all the time, through our own progress or through the slow passage of time. Things may be different now, things may never be the same. At the very least, we’ll have the memories immortalized with a slow finger scroll down a page, for times that were, the times that are, and perhaps, in a small way, to the times that may be.