The future is uncertain, but what is done well is done well.
I’ll always have the Christmases with my grandparents, the movie nights with my father, the books read with my mother, the balls thrown to my dog, and the days preparing for the stage with my high school theatre pals.
I’ll always have that happy day of kayaking on the Chattahoochee, that gorgeous summer evening spent sailing with friends, that night hiking on the Applachain Trail, and the day of my brother’s wedding.
So on and so forth. You probably have similar memories that are just golden. They are the ones that have been the highlights of your story so far.
Few things short of memory loss itself can take those from me. These good memories will be anchors for my sense of wellbeing for the rest of my life, and they will help me:
1) Resist despair – I’ll remember beauty under any condition.
2) Stave off regret – I will see that I have spent my time well.
3) Practice gratitude – for good life so far.
4) Aim higher – because I know what’s possible.
Good memories aren’t just nice to have. They’re some of the most practical life tools for a thoughtful person.
So assuming I have a finite amount of time left before a tragedy strikes me (it will), before age sneaks up on me (it is), and before my time runs out, what should I be up to?
One answer: I should be making good memories like it’s my job.
Good memories shouldn’t be something that just “happen” to me. I should be taking positive, concrete steps to fill my limited time with as many of these as possible (and as many kinds). The richer my present actions, the richer my memories. And the richer my memories, the more I have to draw on in facing the future.
That should mean quality time on the calendar with friends and loved ones: dinners, hikes, games, films, discussions.
That should mean new physical and mental challenges: races, competitions, lessons, speaking.
That should mean new experiences and places: travels, dates, cultural events, conversations with strangers.
And that should mean positive contributions to my world: creative projects, service, and hard work that leaves a mark.
It’s not hard to know *how* to make these good memories. But without a proper understanding of the practicality of memories, it’s easy to forget to spend the time to make them.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash