If you are reading this then you are probably using a computer of some kind: a Mac, PC or Smartphone. You might have taken the liberty of customizing your lock screen or working screen background. You may have adjusted what happens when your computer is idle by turning on a screen saver of some ilk (it’s here we drop the smartphone which usually turn off). Screen savers originated as a result of a problem of image burn-in on the old CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors where if you left an image on long enough, it literally becomes burned into the display and nothing will remove the ghost image.
Screen saver developers have become very creative and at the time of this writing, you can probably find a screen saver that suits your personality, values and life situation. I have to admit, I have played with a few varieties…some intriguing, some funny, some tranquil and some meditation-like. What’s my favorite? Glad you asked.
At this point, my favorites are those that display photo images (it is also my favorite daily automatic background setting). Whether it is a single photo bouncing from corner to corner, a flipping slide show or ever-changing panels of multiple photos, they help remind me of life snapshots … of times captured for “posterity.” And yes, since I download some o
f those photos from my smartphone, I also have parking deck signs (where did I leave the car?) and sale items (why was I interested in that?!) pop up every once in a while if I haven’t gleaned those from the mass of other photos.
Sometimes I set the screen saver to go to a specific event I experienced by creating a folder named for and populated with images of that point in history. Sometimes I just set the software to the root image folder and allow the application to randomly choose life events. Either way it’s fun and thought-provoking to watch the images scroll by.
Reviewing life seems to be a bit like the computer screen saver. I remember bits from here and there. I remember (or fill-in) how I felt, what I was doing, who I was with, and where I was. At times, when seeing a photo or remembering a scene from my past, I scratch my head because I only have the captured mental image and do not remember any details. Anchor points in life are different. We remember the sights, smells, sounds, feelings and tastes of the moment.
Like the random photo setting on the computer screen saver, I can transverse the myriad of events with no connection of one scene to the next. On the other hand, it can also be like viewing the screen saver for a specific event where I can attempt to remember all the mental images from a single point in time as well. And through it all, I have discovered my perception of some life moments is skewed or I have “filled in the blanks” between moments with what I believe had happened, what people were doing or saying, or how I was feeling. I have come to realize my “fill-ins” are not necessarily accurate portrayal of the event and the true full picture is lost in the mist of time.
So what? Why is this important? Well, as an example take the three R’s: regret, remorse and redemption. I may remember an event where I felt regret over what was said or done. If dwelled upon for any length of time, this could turn into either remorseful or redemptive feelings. I may redeem myself by remembering a past event and take action to remediate it today. Or I may reflect on the past moment, smile and be grateful for the people, places, opportunities and times I have experienced.
But here’s a key learning point: I live outside of photo screen savers. While they inspire me or remind me of past events, or mesmerize me with how much has happened, they are of the past. I (and you) only have today. So by focusing on the best of today and creating strong emotional anchor points, I can improve my future viewing of “screen saver” memories – after all if I were to try and drive a car by only looking backward, where I am and where I am going will not match where I had planned on going.
So here’s to glancing backward using my internal screen saver to remember, learn, reflect, and appreciate what had happened. But more importantly, here’s to taking what I’ve learned and applying it TODAY. Here’s to making tomorrow’s screen saver one of reflection, laughter, joy and gratitude.
Here’s to living NOW for a better screen saver tomorrow.