The next day, I listened to the music as I drove. As different songs came on, my memories of particular scenes associated with that song would be flashing through my memories. I found myself reacting with as much joy to the memories, as I did to the actual movie. Wow, what a concept, great memories can continue to bring joy over and over if you appreciate them enough.
I also had downloaded Randy Pausch's book "The Last Lecture". I talked about his lecture in one of my blogs within the last couple of months. In the book, he talked about memories and how important they were for him to build for his children. The children are so young that the youngest most likely won't have any memories of him when she grows up. The oldest would have the most, but he was still too young to have many, and the middle child would have fewer. He thought about the memories he had crystallized from childhood and the experiences that made them memorable, things like the trip to Disney world and others that stayed with him. He was endeavoring to create many experiences in whatever life he had left that would be the kind to stay with them and crystallizes like some of his from similar early ages. It really made me realize how important it was to live life with joy, fully engaged to create the memories that children can treasure as they get older.
In recent evenings at home, I'd been focused on trying to work and finish some projects, as the kids played around me. They enjoy hanging with me or else missed me enough (I've rarely been home in recent weeks) to hang out and play in my part of the house, even though I was not even engaging with them. I determined I was going to go home and be fully engaged and joyful, interacting in ways to build positive memories. I had bought two $10 shirts that day, I wanted to try them on when I got home. Dalia tried one on while I tried on the other, then we swapped shirts. I actually snapped a picture of her in my yellow shirt, then after we snapped that picture, we swapped shirts and we decided to take a picture of both of us wearing the shirts. I've included them here!
Don't we looked like we were having lots of fun and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Who knows, maybe even building a memory. The evening wasn't over. Dalia LOVES Mama Mia and has seen it twice herself. Mackie and Dalia listen to the soundtrack in the car with their mom. I pulled out my iPhone instead of watching one of my shows, we all three were huddled together, laughing, singing and enjoying the soundtrack. Rather than being focused on myself and my needs, I focused on building some delightful memories. Hopefully some day a few of the memories might survive to their adulthood and they will remember me fondly, whether I'm here in person and they get to reminisce, or whether I have passed on.
Another thing I discovered is that we have the power to control how we remember things that happen that are not great things to remember, maybe even negative. Yesterday I had some things happen that were upsetting in one way or another. One event was putting some papers on my car, in the middle of transferring things from the state vehicle to my personal vehicle. These papers were separated out from everything else, because they were my most important papers, that I wanted to put in an easily accessible place. Long story short, I forgot I put them up there, and drove off. They blew out of the binder they were in about 5 blocks away. I didn't realize at first where the papers flying around behind me were coming from. I was sick inside when I realized what was happening and figured I couldn't possibly retrieve them. I was going to Just drive home, sick inside and worried about not only my missing information but the papers blowing around that would violate many students' privacy. Instead, due to so many of the changes I've undergone in my personal renovation, I was willing to go back, try to figure where they started blowing and try to retrieve them. I walked two long blocks, retrieving some papers from the middle of the street when there was a break in traffic, some from gutters, and some from lanes during traffic breaks and some from lawns and etc. I was so proud of myself for being willing to be proactive and try to limit the damage. The upshot, so far, it seems that there are only two papers from that pile that are missing. I retrieved the rest. Even the tire damaged ones were readable where they needed to be. At the time I wrote my gratitude log last night, I didn't yet know how much I'd recovered and how much I hadn't. However I wrote about how grateful I was for the change in me that allowed me to be proactive and try to limit damage, rather than just slinking off and driving away, really sick inside about students personal information flying around the streets, and all the missing information. Today, when I thought about what happened, my memory that flashed through was a positive one, and it was all about my personal growth and how I handled it, not about what happened, or damaged papers.
I also had an upsetting phone call about an erroneous bill with a customer service representative that was misinformed and created a lot of conflict. After the call I found some documentation that will help me in my case and it helped me to realize the customer service operator was wrong and that I had proof of it. I even found something to be grateful about in that situation. I was grateful for the documentation I found. Even though the situation isn't over, and there will be more long calls and possible aggravation ahead, I documented the part I was grateful about. My memory today? Not the extremely aggravated and emotionally upset one from the phone call, but rather the gratefulness at what I found. My attempts to be grateful, to find something to have gratitude for, no matter how difficult, is shaping my memories making them good, where otherwise they would have been upsetting, aggravating or unsettling.
My summary of what I've learned about memories this week.
- If we relish and enjoy the moments, being grateful for awesome experiences as we live them, we can relive the joy when the memories are activated.
- Endeavor to live life more fully engaged and in an effort to build wonderful memories for the people you care about in your life, so that whether it's while you're alive, or after you pass on, you can still bring joy. The joy will be in the memories of those you love when they think of you and fondly, perhaps if we're lucky lovingly reminisce.
- Find a way to be grateful for or to find a way to be positive about your negative experiences. To do so appears to cause them to lose some of their negative power to some degree. Rather, the positive things you attempt to create become a big part of what flashes through your mind when your memory of the event is activated.
Go out and live the memories that you want to have in your tomorrows!