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This TikTok Challenge Shows What A Roller Coaster 2020's Been

The hashtag is a collective digital time capsule.

by Kaitlyn Wylde
New TikTok photo challenge shows the effects of 2020.
Screenshot via TikTok

The last year — let's be real, just the last week — was such a roller coaster, it likely left you totally unaware of what time, day, or season it is. A lot of people have been changed by 2020, and the proof is in the pictures. A new TikTok challenge calls for a comparison of the first photo you took in 2020 and the most recent photo you took to sum up these changes. From major hair transformations — remember quarancuts? — to style overhauls, coming out, and more, the results are illuminating. To partake, you'll want to know how to find your first picture from 2020.

The photos can be of yourself, or of a scene that illustrates your as-yet-undashed hopes for the year. In my own "before" photos, I am rosy-cheeked, carefree, and optimistic about the year ahead, while in my most recent, I'm much more serious, but with a sense of confidence I never thought I could achieve while wearing loungewear 24/7. When you compare your own early 2020 self-portraits to your most recent pictures, you should see that you wear the evidence of a tough year quite obviously.

Though you often see these kinds of retrospectives pop up closer to the end of the year, it's hard to argue that 2020 hasn't tried to fit in at least a decade's worth of events in an 11-month span. Here's how to participate in the challenge and add your own transformation to this collective digital time capsule.

Find Your First Picture From 2020

Instead of scrolling all the way back through the hundreds of WFH selfies, FaceTime screenshots, pet portraits, and interior design 'grams you've taken over the last year, there's a simple iPhone shortcut that will help you get back to the beginning of 2020 quickly.

First, head to Photos, and then tap Library on the bottom left. There, you can choose from Years, Months, Days, and All Photos — tap Years, and tap 2020. The year will automatically sort into months, so you can scroll up to January, where you'll find the very first photo of the year. Likely, that's New Year's Day, and you're looking like someone who just celebrated the night before. In my first photo, I am mask-less, smiling on a wintry hike. Later, I would upload that photo to Instagram with an upbeat caption about looking forward to what the new year would bring.

If you're using an Android phone, head to photos, and tap the calendar icon on the right side of the screen and hold to slide through back through your photo roll, with month tabs. Once you hit January 2020, let go and you'll be stationed in that portion of your library.

Take a screenshot of your chosen photo so that it is easily accessible in your Recents folder. This will be helpful for finding it on TikTok later.

Find Your Most Recent Photo From 2020

Head back to Months, and then just scroll right back down to November 2020 to locate your latest snaps. You can also find this in your Recents folder. If your selfie count has dwindled over the last few months, you might have to scroll back quite a bit. In my most recent photo, I am eight months pregnant, bursting out of a tie-dye loungewear set that I DIY'd back during the crafting phase of the pandemic. Take a screenshot of this photo too, so that it's next to your earlier photo in your Recents folder.

Compose A #2020PhotoChallenge On TikTok

Once you have your pictures ready, it's time to make a TikTok. The soundbite many people are using for this trend is an edited clip that bridges together Blondie's original "Heart of Glass" with Miley Cyrus' cover. Sync your "before" photo with the Blondie half of the clip, and then cut to the "after" photo when Miley Cyrus starts singing, around three seconds in.

The easiest way to create a post is to locate the soundbite and then tap the "Use This Sound" button at the bottom of the screen. From there, you'll tap on "Upload" on the lower right corner, and locate your first and last photo of 2020 in your Recent photos and tap Select — you might need to give TikTok access to your photos if you haven't before. From there, it will create a little transition between the two photos, and you can add text, effects, stickers and filters to mark the time difference. You can also play with the transition and pacing to make the brief slideshow even more perfectly synced to the soundbite.

Though 2020 likely has more chaos in store, with the election passing into the rear-view mirror, now is a good time to book end your transformation.