Because of some rich billionaire people have been trying to download an archive of their tweets without much success – I was lucky to download mine just shortly after the sale went through. I saw some people online criticising the rush to download one’s archive: what is the use? It is not like we are going to analyse our past tweets?
Thanks to timehop I do access my past tweets every day – a very enlightening exercise. I didn’t keep a private journal when I was younger, and even when I started I wasn’t filling it up regularly, so my twitter archive is the only source of my past, on top of my public writing.
As I’ve written here I have been exercising regularly, and I love my exercise so much it pains me whenever I have to stop. It is easy to believe that this has always been the case, because it has been the case for a very long time as far as I can remember. But see, it is: as far as I can remember.
My tweets remind me otherwise, and it has been very amusing for me to see them whenever they pop up:
I’ve been tweeting about exercise for more than a decade, and I have never had a successful attempt at establishing any regularity until I started swimming every day sometime in 2016.
Layered on top of timehop I started keeping a private journal on dayone sometime in 2013:
I’ve also used 750words.com on and off. All together they provide me with a rich picture of my past selves. A while ago dayone started to serve “on this day” entries like timehop, so I started reviewing them daily. A few days ago this popped up:
First 1km non-stop run completed!– 14th Nov 2017, dayone
There were many stops and starts but it took me five years since to be able to run 5km non-stop every day.
It is the same with cooking. I cook almost all my meals now, and it is hard to imagine I had so much trouble with it. But just a year ago I was so desperate to start cooking that I called it the last frontier (yes I am dramatic I know):
I think one major improvement I can do for myself is to cook for myself. like seriously. I feel like in general I have done well for a lot of things, like exercising everyday even if it is a 30 min slow walk, eat less carbs in general, etc etc, cut down things like using a powdered creamer…cooking is like the last frontier.– 2nd Dec 2021, dayone
…and here I call myself a baby because I find myself relatively skill-less in terms of actual living – I make another reference to cooking:
just had this epiphany that I’m feeling so empty because I’m still relatively a baby when it comes to my inner world and I haven’t built up the skills to lead a full, rich, life yet. I’m still in the process of untangling myself from my old world. and there are a lot of things I don’t yet know how to do for myself. like cook.– 22nd Nov 2021, dayone
I can be very repetitive, which I wouldn’t know if I wasn’t journalling. I had a similar-themed “epiphany” back in 2018
just now while reading I had a sudden realisation hit me (or may re-realisation I dunno) — that it is liberating to know I’m still so bad at being human, that I’m absolutely learning how to walk, that I know I’m right at the beginning, that this journey is so new — I’m almost excited at the potential ahead because I know I’m just starting.– 30th Oct 2018, dayone
I think it is interesting to me to observe how I used to think, the tone I had used, if I still think the same way. There were plenty of instances I was genuinely surprised with the thoughts from my former self.
In software development there is a concept of a changelog, which with every updated version the developer releases some notes that document what exactly has changed since the last update. I see all these archives of my thoughts and psyche as keeping a personal changelog. They document what has changed in me since.
Maybe to many people this wouldn’t be useful. But I tend to have a poor memory, and my mind tends to be stuck in time from years of being chronically depressed, sometimes like a broken record that plays the same tune over and over again. Reviewing my past allows me to see myself clearer. Without my documentation I would truly believe I am the same old helpless boring person who is in constant despair, but my writing tells me otherwise. There were so many things I wanted to do and learn, and I have this impression of myself that I am not good at following through, but my personal history has demonstrated that I did eventually follow through, but sometimes it took many, many years. But what matters is that I did what I set out to do, eventually.
Why is that important? Because we need accurate mirroring to know who and where we are. If I keep having a poor impression of myself, perhaps I may end up not even trying anything. Why try when I seem to be always unsuccessful? But now I have evidence and a sturdy knowledge that I can improve, and that I have changed things that seemed stuck in the mud forever – it gives me the confidence and esteem to try new changes, to believe I can at least try going where I want to be.
Repetition really helps. I believe that because I kept writing about what I want to do, there is an unconscious buildup in the eventual will to do it.
Most people read the autobiographies of other successful people to try to emulate their success. I find it valuable and meaningful to learn how my past selves has transcended themselves. There are so many psychological factors involved in personal change, our psyches will never be close to whoever we want to emulate: the inner strengths, resilience, demons they may have. But I can tap into a reservoir of my personal history and see what was already there. If something once bubbled out of my unconscious, the chance of it bubbling again is pretty high.
All I need, is to be reminded of it.
As a meta note: this is why I am trying to backfill this website with all this stuff from other platforms. So I can form clustered themes of my history in one place. Perhaps one day I could make dynamic queries of them.
why and how I’m building this website as a tool for myself