Everyone makes mistakes — you and I included. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
There are things we try hard to forget. These are the things that burn our memories and make us wince whenever we remember them. Things like:
- Wetting your pants in fourth grade
- Your parents catching you in a straight up lie
- A long-lost love you let foolishly get away
- That drunken night that ended with your mom putting you to bed
- Tripping and falling in front of ridiculously good-looking and important people
- Completely messing up that report for your boss
- Calling someone who’s not your significant other “amor” or “babe” by mistake
Yeah, that’s awkward.
Sometimes, when these memories pop into my head, I catch myself scratching my head, shifting in my seat, and physically wincing.
Feeling embarrassed makes me twitchy.
What you know what doesn’t make me twitchy? The opposite of embarrassing, the opposite of regret, the opposite of anything negative.
The stuff I love to remember makes me joyous and proud.
I have so many amazing memories that it’s hard to keep them all organized and easy to call up when I want to.
There are childhood memories, school memories, college memories, work memories, trip memories, vacation memories. There are memories with friends, memories with family, memories with lovers, memories with my notebooks, memories with my words.
The question is: why don’t we all spend more time remembering the good stuff? If there are so many of them, why do we limit our memories to pictures on the wall or on our Facebook profiles?
There’s probably a lot more we could be doing with them.
How could your favorite memories serve you?
Some of my favorite memories don’t actually have to do with people in my life — they have to do with ideas.
That may sound crazy, but I’ll explain.
When I think back a few years and recall the things I have loved the most are experiences that have to do with expanding my learning. Some that come to mind include:
- Attending a conference (SxSW) and meeting my favorite thought-leaders and writers
- Speaking at different events to help people understand their marketing and path
- Reading books that have literally driven me crazy with possibility and yearning for better
- Writing in the early morning, when nobody is awake to burst my bubble of ecstatic outpouring
- Meeting inspiring minds when I’ve least expected it — in the digital world and “in real life”
I could go on, but it all makes me wistful for more and more and more.
All of this got me thinking that I’d be nuts to not pay closer attention to the things I cherish most and the things I love to remember. Looking at the list above kind of sets my path for the future, no?
Apparently, I need to spend more time creating worthwhile and inspiring experiences in my life. Apparently, my joy comes from sitting at a coffee shop and writing blog posts galore. Apparently, my joy comes from creating words (written and spoken) that can propel others forward.
Stay tuned into your favorite memories
If all of these amazing memories can help guide our path, how do we tune into them? How can we make sure to truly make the most of them?
1. Reflect on your past few years and pay attention to what events stick out most. It’s easier than you think! What should stand out will stand out — the good and the bad. Focus on the good that you’ve enjoyed. It’s right inside you.
2. Make a list, and check it twice. Christmas-time isn’t the only time of the year that’s best analyzed with list-making. Take some time to truly put down on paper what’s the best of your world.
3. Put time aside to replicate that which you loved most. If you liked reading a certain book, look up something similar. (Amazon will help you do that.) If you cherished a conversation with a friend, call them up to schedule the next one. Whatever you liked most, make some plans to explore it some more.
What are your favorite memories? What do you think they tell you about your kind of joy and curiosity?