Every waking moment of every day, and some nonwaking moments, we make memories. Most vanish before the day is done; very few last a week. Some good memories return when reminders come along, but most are forever lost. We deal with this by keeping diaries, taking photos, or telling stories, and it all helps…a little.
In quiet moments, reflecting on cherished memories, with loved ones or alone, we can feel the happiness. It's so easy to do that we rarely think about the effort. Whenever we want to feel happy, we can remember a beautiful landscape, the smell of a wood fire, the smiles of loved ones, or even their touch.
These memories don't come from diaries or photos or stories — they come from deep within. Take some time to inventory how many wonderful memories you have. However many you find, you might notice two things. You'll be very happy about them, and you'll probably want more. You might think, 'I wish I could remember Grandma more clearly,' or your first love, or your teammates on the day of that great victory, and on and on.
Fortunately, there is something you can do, more powerful than diaries or photos or stories or anything you can buy. You can prepare yourself to create cherished memories. Once you're prepared, it happens almost automatically. Here are some suggestions for preparing to make memories to cherish.
- Make happen what you most want to happen
- You're much more likely to remember something if you really wanted it to happen. Do what you can — everything you can — to make it happen.
- Illuminate the people around you
- Memories of others are more vivid when those others are vivid, when there is enough emotional light. Light up the people around you, make them bright, make them glow.
- Filter the details
- In everyday mode, we attend to everyday details — what's for dinner, when do I have to be there, what to wear. But when preparing to make memories, these details fade compared to the details that truly matter: Am I breathing? Where am I? What is around me? What is that aroma? What is she wearing? What is the shape of his smile? How does the light look in their eyes?
- Light up the people around
you, make them bright,
make them glow
- Turn on the recorder
- Take in all the details of right now, as if you were experiencing them for the last time, because you are. Think of it as turning on the recorder. You might have to search for your own Record Button, but stay with it — you will find it.
Most important, to remember an experience, you must experience it. To experience it, you must be fully in it. These suggestions are for preparing to make memories. Thinking about the preparations while you're in the experience can take you out of the experience. Prepare first, then do. Top Next Issue
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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming November 30: Avoiding Speed Bumps: II
- Many of the difficulties we encounter when working together don't create long-term harm, but they do cause delays, confusion, and frustration. Here's Part II of a little catalog of tactics for avoiding speed bumps. Available here and by RSS on November 30.
- And on December 7: Reaching Agreements in Technological Contexts
- Reaching consensus in technological contexts presents special challenges. Problems can arise from interactions between the technological elements of the issue at hand, and the social dynamics of the group addressing that issue. Here are three examples. Available here and by RSS on December 7.
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