The day I went back in time

In October 2016 I left my entire life in London behind when I made a spur of the moment decision to move to Bristol. It was never supposed to be a permanent arrangement, all I knew was that in that moment, I needed to get out. I desperately needed out of what had become of my life in the Big Smoke. And so 10 months later I’m still here, in my “new” bedroom in Bristol, but everything is different. I have a new job, new friends, new family members and new things going on.

Tonight my phone broke and the only way to save it was to restore it from it’s last backup date.

The morning after the night I moved house and left everything behind.

If you don’t have an iPhone or have never restored yours before, let me set the scene by giving you a quick overview of what happens when you restore it from it’s back up date.

  • Your photos disappear to be replaced with whatever photos were on your phone at the time
  • This also applies to your contacts, your apps and your iPhone notes
  • Your text messages and phone call logs go back to this date also
  • Your phone background, app layout, settings and iOS level go back to how they were at this date
  • Your apple pay cards vanish, any other passes and you’re logged out of all accounts as all apps are re-installed
  • Your emails and whatsapp conversations go back to the date you last backed up
  • Basically your entire phone is the same as it was on the date you backed it up, which for me was a day in October 2016.

One of the reasons I moved in the first place was that I was at my lowest point I’ve probably ever been at. I was completely isolated, with very few friends, not that I ever made an effort to see the ones I had. I lived in an area I had never even visited before and didn’t speak to my housemates, not even to say hi as we passed in the halls. I didn’t get out much and became absorbed in a career I had no lasting interest in. I spent a lot of time shut up in my room writing, reading and watching the same movies over and over. At the same time though, I was desperate to stay in London. The night I was due to leave for good I sat on the floor of my empty bedroom and cried until my Dad came to pick me up and take me home. Seeing every conversation, every photo and every note as it had been that night was like a punch in the gut. This was the last conversation my phone showed with my best friend:


No offence, mentioned friends. Of course I was very sad but I didn’t cry.

One of the things that really struck me about how things were different was that there was no trace of my baby sister, who is now approaching 6 months old. It felt awful, like she had never been born, which is silly because she was right in the room with me, but phones are such a big part of our lives these days that it just felt so real. Thank god I had all my photos of her on my laptop otherwise I would have been heartbroken.

Another thing was that none of the conversations I have with people currently were there, because I didn’t know them yet at the time. None of my work friends had any mention on my phone, not even their numbers in my contacts. It’s crazy to think that 10 months ago I had a completely different set of people I talk to daily than I do now, with the exception of a couple of people.

The hardest thing to do was to look through the photos. I didn’t want to do it but I had an inkling that there would be a few on there that I wasn’t going to want to come across accidentally, and I wasn’t wrong. A few I had to delete without really even looking because it was too painful, some made me reminisce happily about the old days, some totally threw me because I had forgotten they existed and some just made no sense to me at all. Ex boyfriends, old houses and crazy nights out I’d all but forgotten were laid out before me like it all happened yesterday, because of course my phone believed that it had.

Despite being thoroughly shook by the whole experience, I’m now sort of glad that those photos and memories are back, because I spent so long trying to shut them out and create a new life for me that it sort of feels like a reward to be able to look at them all and feel okay, like it wasn’t all a horrendous waste of time. It is my life after all, every single part of it, and instead of trying to ignore it, block it out or forget about it I should be learning to celebrate it all, every minute of it, and add these new people and experiences to it, instead of trying to replace the past with them.

Has this ever happened to you and did you find anything you thought you had forgotten about? x


  1. lucysomerset 10th August 2017 / 10:16 pm

    It IS like going back in time! I’ve got 12 years worth of iPhones and sometimes I charge up an old one and the photos take me right back in time! But mainly happy. 🙂

    However I did find a suitcase of old diaries from my teens and twenties and they made me sad when I read them. So I shredded them and felt better. 🙂

    • ooftbeebee 12th August 2017 / 10:23 am

      That sounds amazing I wish I had really old phones to look at, I always remember the poetry I wrote when I was about 14 on my first laptop and I wish I could look at it and crawl into a hole and die. I also wish I could tell 14 year old me she’d get a Degree in Poetry

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