Last week a good friend of mine and former neighbor, Steve, posted something on his Facebook page. It was a story of road trips he would take with his family and all the sights, sounds and feelings that were shared along the way. And more importantly his message was about the memories that were created and how looking back on them now, they held even deeper meaning.
Having grown up with grandparents who liked to take long road trips too, his story inspired me to reflect on some of those trips. And it also gave me a reason to ask my own children what they remembered and enjoyed the most about our own cross-country trips each year. I wondered and hoped that one day that they would also look back on our many journeys with happy memories. Memories that perhaps shaped their lives today.
And it’s more than road trips, isn’t it? Doesn’t it just feel incredible when we can reflect on life’s experiences that we enjoyed with our family and friends? Isn’t it wonderful when a sound, sight, or even smell brings us back to a place and time that fills us with joy? Or an old photograph we find while cleaning out our desk, basement, office, or attic. This happened to me recently as I was reorganizing my office. I would pause as I found photos of friends and family and explore the picture and the scenery and remember exactly what was happening when the picture was taken.
Recently I was spending time with a friend who was grieving the loss of a loved one. Their family member had lived a full and good life. As we talked, cried and laughed, I asked them what they remembered most about the family member who had passed away. My friend reflected for a moment and then started rattling off all the best and funniest memories that they had had together. Tears welled up in their eyes when they remembered the sweetest moments, and even the most difficult seasons of life.
Do you remember the times that you have experienced with your family and friends? Do you allow yourself the time to revisit and reflect on your good and happy memories? I share this with you because at a time where many are feeling the stresses of the past two years, we need to remember that even during these trying times, we have plenty of opportunities to create new, happy and lasting memories. And one day, we will all look back on this season of life and ask the person sitting with us, “Do you remember the time when during the pandemic we…?”
The choices we make today will be the events we remember tomorrow and in the years that follow. The life and the trips and the stories we write today will be told amongst our family and friends in the future. And one day when we are all sitting around the table or in the car on a road trip, we will be asking that same question, “Do you remember the time when we…?”
What would you like those conversations to feel like and sound like? What do you hope your family members and friends will remember most about your time together? I love this quote by Maya Angelou that underscores this point, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” How do you want people to feel when they remember their time spent with you?
Road trips, vacations, conferences, Sunday family dinner, game night, movie night, church, dinner out with friends, birthday parties, weddings, anniversary celebrations, funerals and memorial services, and just life in general give us so many opportunities to create and capture so many beautiful and wonderful memories. What are your favorite memories? I would love to hear all about them at email@example.com, and when we take the time to focus on those beautiful memories, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.