Have you ever looked back on your week and couldn't quite remember anything in particular that happened? It was just another week - just another bunch of days that are now gone, never to be remembered again. Have you ever had a month like that, or maybe even a year that had nothing memorable about it?
One thing I've noticed about having kids is that they really are a good marker for time. There is so much going on and so many news things happening in the life of a child, that it's easy to look back and say, "Oh yeah...that was the summer Murielle learned how to ride her bike." or, "That was the year we took the kids to Disney.". I find they make it easy to place events and memories because of the many changes surrounding them. They really add a richness to life.
I understand that not all of us have children though. So I was pondering the idea of putting our stamp on time and what that means for each of us. What causes us to be able to look back and remember certain times and completely forget others?
In my mind, it goes something like this:
MOMENTS - those events and situations that you don't plan or expect - when something out-of-the-ordinary happens, whether that be big or small
TRADITIONS - the planned happenings that you can count on - this would include holidays, or a family game night each week - "moments" can happen within tradition - they usually happen with some consistency or frequency
MILESTONES - these are events that occur with or without planning them - many times they are expected, but not planned - things like graduating, losing a tooth, turning a certain age, etc.
MEMORIES - these are created from any one of the above - the memories are the events which you can recall as a result of certain moments, traditions and milestones leaving an impression or stamp on your time
If someone has lots of memories, it is because they were able to somehow imprint those moments into their mind. There was something significant about that moment for them - maybe a smell, sound, feeling - it's different for everyone.
Most people talk about "making memories" in one way or another, but how do we actually do that? Do we have a say in what things we will remember about our life when looking back? I think we most-definitely do. We can be deliberate with our memory-making and it doesn't have to involve much more than your attention.
First of all, what kinds of things do you pull from your memory easily? Do you remember places? Do you remember words that people have spoken to you? Do you remember sounds? Smells? The best memories involve many of these different facets of the soul. I'm not a psychologist, but my own common sense tells me that the more facets you can throw into a situation, the more likely you are to remember it. OK...that's starting to sound complicated. Bear with me...I'm gonna bring it home here in a sec.
My point is, if you want to make memories, be deliberate about it. Live in and embrace the moment you are in. If you want more memories, take more pictures, write bits on your calendar, journal or blog it. That helps too.
Here are some excellent ways to put a stamp on your time, that have little to no cost:
- every so often, have a dinner with a theme (like "foods-you-can-eat-with-your-hands" night)
- create a tradition that is uniquely yours (get the kids to help you wash the car every week, pancakes on Saturday mornings, yearly gifts to the neighbours, etc.)
- visit a new park in your city every week
- change normal things up, just for fun (like hang your clothes out to dry instead of drying them, camp out in the living room for a night)
- visit your extended family outside of the holidays
- learn a new instrument or language
What ideas do you have?
The options are virtually endless. It's probably not as complicated as I've made it here. I just like to think. :) Just readily embrace the moment, give it your attention, and you'll have a wealth of sweet memories to give yourself and others later.