What Stands Out from Your “Year in Review?”

by On December 30, 2013 in General, Holidays

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It’s that time of year when the folks at Facebook create for their users a “year in review” montage, presumably highlighting the most important photos we’ve posted all year.

Each year generates milestone photo ops. Credit: Diana Dull Akers

Each year generates milestone photo ops.
Credits: Diana Dull Akers

While their highlight reel doesn’t match mine, it was still a fun walk down memory lane, and as I viewed the images, I noticed something. The photos that mattered most to me depicted simple, every day life moments with my family.

Sure, I loved looking at special event photos. My daughter’s first day of school was so memorable for us both, and we have wonderful photos from holiday?gatherings, birthdays and summer vacation.

But it was the everyday images that made me smile most:gazebo pose sized

  • Exploring the gazebo at the park with my daughter
  • Hanging out with grandma in her living room, just talking and reminiscing
  • Posing for a silly-faces family shot at a ballgame
  • Taking a husband/wife selfie at the end of a long week, when we were inspired to catch the sunset on a last-minute drive to our local beach

    Fun visiting Grandma Credit: Diana Dull Akers

    Fun visiting Grandma

As a child I loved poring over family photo albums, studying our story through the images. On a recent visit to grandma’s house, I asked to share the albums with my daughter. She giggled seeing her mommy as a newborn in 1959, or a young girl playing in the sprinklers in 1965. She was intrigued by the “funny hat and cape” mommy wore in her 1977 high school graduation photos.

Then we came to the 1982 album, and I tensed. That was the year my dad lost his battle with cancer at age ?50. I was 22, my sister 23, my brother 18 and after months of not taking photos, there we were, posing for our annual Christmas photo by the tree our mother resisted that year. I look at the image and remember well the feeling of forcing the best smiles we could muster in that year when none of us knew quite what to say or feel.

Simple smiles at sunset. Credit: Diana Dull Akers

Simple smiles at sunset.

That year serves as an emotional touchstone for me, a way to think about all the years that have followed. So as I look at our 2013 year-in-review photos, I see the story of a year where the good days have thankfully outnumbered the bad. Yes, there were challenges and tears; that’s the stuff of life, too. Still, I’m so grateful to look at these photos and see smiles that are true.

When you're happy, being silly comes easy. Credit: Diana Dull Akers

Happy and silly often go together well.

This New Years, consider taking time as a family to look at your photos of the year just past. It’s a meaningful way to reflect on where you’ve been, and where life might take you next.

For 2014, wishing you and yours a year of photos that reflect happiness, health and contentment.



Diana is a sociologist, freelance writer and mom, though rarely in that order. Her writing spans topics from parenting joys and challenges to prevention education. She writes a monthly parenting blog for Yahoo and has published feature articles on adoption, family rituals and the childcare industry for parenting publications. Diana earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. These days find her hanging with her husband and book-loving six year old in the San Francisco Bay Area, while happily blogging and serving as a reading advocate for Bookboard.

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