A popular weekly feature on social networking sites such as Twitter and Instagram is “Throwback Thursday” (#TBT). Every Thursday people around the world, including me and my kids, post old pictures of themselves or photos that bring back memories from the past. Throwback Thursday has gained so much popularity that #TBT has become one of the most recognized hashtags in social media. Millions of people post their digital nostalgia each week as they look back to the relics of their past.
This “digital nostalgia” is not only limited to social media. Mainstream media has been doing leveraging nostalgia for much of the past decade. Just take a look at the movies and TV shows that have been released, as well as the current fashion trends. They’re mostly remakes of old movies or superhero movies designed to appeal to the memories of those adults who used to read comic books under the covers with a flashlight when they were kids. Even many movie sequels have a throwback element to them. The current surprise box office hit is “Best Man Holiday”, a romantic comedy whose original installment was released nearly fifteen years ago. (By the way, I was supposed to be in that movie, but I had a scheduling conflict.)
Everyone seems to want to throwback. Even in sports, the most popular (and most expensive) jerseys are usually the “throwbacks”. People want to buy the jerseys of players who are retired or of teams whose jerseys have changed over the years. They even sell throwback jerseys of ya boy, Prime. (Man, I feel old!!!) By the way, that Falcons red #21 throwback ain’t no joke! That would make someone a WONDERFUL Christmas gift!
The point is, everyone seems to be infatuated with the PAST. Everyone seems to want to go back to “the good ol’ days”. Many want to keep going back to the PAST because their PRESENT seems so bleak. I believe there is a bit of escapism in this global “throwback” trend. Let me explain, if I don’t want to deal with the PAIN of my PRESENT, it’s easier to ROMANTICIZE about the JOYS of my PAST. There is at least one major problem with this, however. When we GLANCE back at our PAST, we usually GLOSS OVER our PAST. I love the simplicity of life when me and Mama’nem lived at 1625 Henderson in Ft. Myers, FL. It was great. My sister and I had a great childhood, although my mama worked her butt off to make ends meet. Now, I’m gonna gloss over the fact that we had so many roaches that the Roach Motel had no vacancy, and the rats ran better routes after 9pm than Calvin Johnson!
We have a tendency to remember history the way we WANT to remember history. We have a habit of Photoshopping all the ugly parts out of the picture of our past. When we get lonely we remember how much we loved that man or that woman and all the good times we had, but we conveniently forget all the drama and the ignorance they took us through.
Some people live in a perpetual “Throwback Thursday”. They spend their entire lives dwelling on the past. I have a couple of friends that played in the NFL, and all they talk about today is how they played in a game back in the 1990s. That gets on my nerves because I want to ask them, “What about right now?!” As I often say, the past is a great teacher, but it is a terrible landlord. You can LEARN from the PAST, but you cannot LIVE in the PAST! The problem with the THROWBACK is you can never GO BACK (I just preached right then. Somebody hit the organ!). It’s one thing to post a picture to your Instagram once a week, but it’s an entirely different thing to try to recreate the moment in that picture in your everyday life. It can’t be done. It shouldn’t be done.
People ask me all the time if I miss the game. I tell them, “I never miss anything I walked away from. You only miss those things that left you.” I’m not trying to go back. I’m good right where I am. So, instead of always focusing on throwbacks and your past, maybe it’s time that we start appreciating the present and throwing forward to our future. From this moment, let’s start celebrating “Throw Forward Thursday”. Let’s start throwing our dreams, visions and goals forward until we achieve them. Let’s throw forward to our future. While things may be painful in your present, they cannot prevent the promise of your future. Get this in your head….your future is bright! Begin to invest in it. Every time you work on your dream, you are throwing forward to your future. When you ignore your own problems, trials and tribulations, and help someone else with theirs, you are throwing forward to your future.
It’s time to complete your change of address form. Stop sending stuff to the mailbox of your past. It’s time to “forward” your mail to your future. Start throwing forward today so that when the future you has a Throwback Thursday, you won’t even remember the pain your dealing with right now! Today is your “Throw Forward Thursday”. Let’s start throwing like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or even Cam (OOOOOH Cam)!