Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week, you’ll have heard of the challenge that took the internet by storm. The 10 year challenge sees Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook users post a ‘then and now’ profile photo from approximately 10 years ago. Now, apart from a handful of people of who are cautious and are labeling Facebook’s supposedly harmless endeavor as an attempt to collect facial recognition data en masse, the majority of the world is playing along.
Me 10 years ago: probably would have played along with the profile picture aging meme going around on Facebook and Instagram
Me now: ponders how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition
— Kate O'Neill (@kateo) January 12, 2019
Amidst the myriad of celebrity before and after collages and the influx of challenge photos sprawled down your Instagram feed, it can be difficult to restrain yourself and join in on what looks like a harmless nostalgic road trip. Some people have opted to disengage. Why? For the sake of their mental and emotional wellbeing.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. But often times, a picture can be worth far more than a period in time when your braces ruined your life, or you had an extra few pounds on the scale than you currently do, or you had zero fashion sense. Sometimes a picture is enough to take you back to a time that seemed like it was going to last forever, a period of so much pain and suffering, that you would rather not elicit those emotions ever again by bringing up old photographs from that time. It’s difficult, especially in the pseudo-connected, hyper-interactive world we live in today, to place a distance between something you never want to acknowledge again and something the rest of the world is celebrating.
Self care is a lot more than a bubble bath and a good book. Self care involves distancing yourself from stimuli that will bring out negative reactions in your mind, body, and heart. Self care can sometimes mean not taking part in social media trends just for the sake of your wellbeing — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Rather than cling to the superficiality of a simple before and after photo just ‘for the gram‘, why not engage with the trend/challenge yourself on a deeper level and ask yourself some important questions about your own personal ’10 year challenge’?
How far have I come emotionally?
Photo by Mohammad Gh on Unsplash
Have you given yourself credit where it is most certainly due? 10 years is a long time ago. The majority of us where still in school, worrying about what others though (maybe we still do), trying to navigate life without losing sense of ourselves. We may have been easily influenced by our peers, compromising our faith, and cultures, just to fit in and feel part of the crowd. We may have been uncertain when it came to ourselves. We didn’t know what we wanted out of life, we were simply just trying to get by. Perhaps it was difficult for us to emotionally regulate ourselves? Whatever it may have been, 10 years seems an eon away now. Where do you stand now? What sense of purpose have you or haven’t you grappled with and come to terms with now? What matters to you in life at this point in time — is it the desire to please others, or to feel a sense of personal fulfilment above all else?
I have survived
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
Good times don’t last, and neither to the bad. You may have encountered moments of strife where you questioned if the pain would ever end. You may be smiling, but it masks the uncertainty and helplessness you once felt inside. Life may have changed somewhat for you now, reminding you that life is transient. People are transient. Everything this world has to offer is temporary and nothing lasts forever — good times and bad. So gently remind yourself if you face tumultuous times once more — it will pass. Things will change, never lose hope in that.
What have I accomplished?
Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash
This simple facebook challenge has garnered a lot attention from celebrities who gush over their once seemingly unattainable dreams and how they have surpassed even those goals they once considered impossible. It leads us to ponder on our own goals over the past 10 years. Perhaps we had once dreamed of being x,y,z, and we have made a 360 degree shift in that. Whether we were pursuing a job or career for the sake of our parents, or ourselves, perhaps we don’t find ourselves on the path we had envisioned for ourselves. Instead, give yourself credit again — maybe you’ve made strides in other realms. School is not for everybody, our definition of success must include boundaries beyond simply getting a degree. Success is universal. Success knows no bounds nor measurements. Success to you may not be success for me — and that is the beauty in it. Don’t live your life comparing yourself and your milestones with others, no two books are ever the same. Live your life with the acceptance that you are following your path, and that is all that matters.
At the end of the day, whether you chose to participate in the 10 year challenge trend or not is up to you. But when you do see the myriad of ‘drastically changed’ posts, never allow yourself to feel inadequate or lacking in any realm. Your story is your own — you don’t need to post it for the world to see for it to matter or be significant. Follow your heart and give yourself credit for how far you have come thus far and never lose hope in going even further than you have ever deemed possible.