Everyday Facebook diligently reminds me of my memories. While some of these memories I would care to forget, most of them stir up feelings of nostalgia and reminisce. For instance, lately my memories have all been related to my graduation from CU. These are memories that I cherish. I look back on those four years and I am reminded of some of my greatest experiences. I met some of my best friends who pushed me to try new things. They taught me to laugh a little more, to value friendship, and they reminded me to relax and have a little fun every now and then. #goBuffs
There is nothing wrong with these daily reminders of what we had to celebrate a year ago, 3 years ago, 10 years ago. In fact, I think they are really important because they help us look back and realize that we really were able to get through things that might have caused anxiety or stress. I’m not saying that this is true for everyone, but in my case it’s very comforting. All those late nights spent stressed out about a chemistry final wasn’t the end of the world – I would make it through those experiences, and because of those I will now be able to make it through tougher stuff.
On the flip side, sometimes looking at old photos is tough for me. I acknowledge and accept that I will never have a life like Kim Kardashian or be as skinny as a Victoria’s Secret model. That’s just not me. What I will confess though is that what I do struggle with is comparing myself to… myself.
I look at pictures of myself from 4 years ago and think – “Damn, I had good hair then. Why doesn’t it look like that now?” – or – “Huh, I was a lot smaller than I am now”. Or even – “I was less serious than I am now, and maybe had more fun”. I can get stuck in a negative cycle that’s hard to break out of. I hope I’m not the only one…
I certainly need a daily dose of positivity. Memories are beautiful and I’m not going to give those up, but instead I remind myself that I am not the same person I was four years ago. Sure, those experiences are part of my identity, they have shaped me and impacted me, but they aren’t Madeline Grace on May 10th 2016.
So today, I sit in a hotel room between conference sessions and I am thankful for this opportunity. What have I done to deserve this chance? To take a risk and step outside my comfort zone? I am thankful for who I am and what I have become because if I was the same as 4 years ago I sure as hell wouldn’t be here.
There’s grace in accepting my bad hair days, in recognizing change, growth, and my differences from year to year. Thank goodness for grace, beauty, and memories.