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It started with earnest good nature. People on social media were posting side-by-side pictures of themselves from now and 10 years ago last week. It’s become a full-blown meme.
They used various hashtags, such as #howharddidagehityouchallenge, #10yearchallenge, or #GlowUpChallenge. This trend was mainly embraced by people who magically looked better than they did a decade ago. Who could blame them for wanting to show off a bit?
Ok I went with an even 10 yrs with a pic I took this past September. I miss that fuchsia top but not those highlights... or brows 😂 #howharddidagehityouchallenge #howharddidaginghituchallenge #glowupchallenge pic.twitter.com/OmwusBDq3V— Look Better Naked (@Suki_Sjoekje) January 13, 2019
Other people used the challenge to show how much their lives had changed.
Of course with a trend this big, it wasn’t long before people started subverting it to get a laugh. At first, people were still using pictures of themselves.
And from there it was off to the races. The once-personal picture challenge became filled with celebrities, cartoon characters, and jokes. Welcome to 2019’s first big meme.
At least one person used the new meme to point out the sad effects of humans have had on the environment.
The beginning of a new year is a natural time to look back and reflect, so it’s not surprising this challenge-turned-meme is hitting so hard. Ten years is a long time and it’s staggering to think about how much we’ve all changed.
Memes, of course, change way more rapidly than human beings. If this one follows the path of most of its brethren, 10 days from now it will probably just be a grainy picture of Spongebob with a tattoo of Shrek on his forehead.
David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.