Dana Martin Writing

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A [mostly amusing] blog about travel, life, and TSA pat-downs
Dana Martin Writing

Facebook’s memory lane

A yearly reminder of how far you've come

Facebook has this feature to remind you of what you were doing “on this day” in the past. In the same way the news media scours for dirt, Facebook will mine your social history to show you your past, exposing some posts you wish would disappear, like my dorky posts from when I discovered Facebook in 2008, when we used to post as ourselves in 3rd person (Dana is…. “eating ice cream.”). Happily, though, it also shows more recent posts, like when my grandchild was born one year ago.

Most of the time, seeing my memories gives me a smile: Watching my son pitching for the Dodgers and hearing Vin Scully say his name. Touring the haunted graveyards in Savannah hunting for ghosts. A glass of wine styled perfectly in front of a gorgeous sunset.

Most of the time.

Sometimes, you get a gut punch, though. Like the time Facebook showed me the last thing my former haunted house partner posted on his wall on the anniversary of the day he died in surgery. After almost 7 years, though, that one doesn’t hurt as much when I see it now because I know where he is, and it’s infinitely better than where we are. Plus, time heals. Which brings me to the memory Facebook showed me today.

Today’s memory (shown here in the featured photo) was a yearly reminder of a company I poured so much of my life into, a business I thought was doing so much good transforming lives and allowing so many to have fun. Some memories work like a time capsule, showing me who I thought I was, where I was putting my time and energy, revealing what I assumed was my purpose and reason for being here. I had myself convinced that it was my calling, that I was better at that than anything else, that I was making a difference in the lives of the kids who found a home within the creepy walls.

If I had been correct, I would still be there, wouldn’t I?

Things happen when you lose what you thought was your purpose, when you are forced to reevaluate your priorities in life. In 2016, when Facebook showed me this same memory, I can say with certainty that I didn’t LOVE seeing it. I was in a dark place, a fish out of water, unsure and clueless what to do with myself after leaving this business I loved, and seeing an image that represented a celebratory night at work was destructive; it threatened the tenuous hold I had on my emotions.

But that was not my reaction today.

Today when Facebook showed me this same memory, I smiled SO BIG. I recalled nothing negative, only the feeling of euphoria from that night 6 years ago, when we could not fit one more customer into our massive haunted house grounds. The ticket booth line had stretched a thousand feet all night; we finally had to turn people away before they came into the parking lot. That’s where this glowing message board sign came in to play. That memory brought up another fun memory of a night at a different location 10 years ago, when our poor actors had to stay until 2am to get everyone through the haunt. That night we were all victims of a slow-moving “elevator” operator, who was taking advantage of every second of his 15 minutes of fame.

These should be good memories, but it takes time to heal and get to the place where we can smile at them again.

The point is, in the same way I felt healed when I saw posts from my friend who died, I also feel healed now when I see anything that has to do with my former haunted house. Not just healed, but joyful.

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

I’m not a Bible expert by any means, but through the process of healing, I relied on the above scripture and the promise it made. And it was true. I have ALL joyful, happy memories now and am so grateful for the experience and people who crossed my path. Time proved I could open another business that I love just as much, and, if I am being honest, I didn’t impact those kids as much as I once thought I did. That doesn’t mean it was pointless, but it does make me a bit of a Pollyanna. Perspective will show that to you.

Now, thanks to Facebook’s memory feature, I get a yearly litmus test to see how I’m doing. And that, I think, is the beauty of “Your Facebook Memories.” You get a visual reminder of “injuries” from which you thought you’d never heal and a yearly opportunity to prove yourself wrong.

Does the memory bring joy or pain? Everyday it’s a crap shoot, but so far I have a 100% success rate.

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Dana Martin Writing

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Helping improve the world, one written word at a time.