memories help me laugh at myself

by rebecca on May 14, 2010

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       I am participating in Momalom’s series Five for Ten. I invite you to visit the other fabulous authors who are also lending their voices.

 

       Today collected memories from my young self to a future self are my altared space. I began writing in journals as a teenager so that when I got older and forgot what was important to me…I could read and remember.

       I use recollections to help me focus today. I gather pictures and words about the life I am living so that I can see clearly what it is I’m doing. As I collect photos and use words to record the many trips we’ve taken to the apple orchard I am harvesting my family.

       Some people absorb life as they live it with more ease. I do better having a task that forces me to notice. When I mindfully collect memories it encourages me to figure out that the simple days in the sunshine with ruby crisp apples are what invite me to feel like I am part of a family.

       With my camera and my journals I distill those moments  when I pick apples and turn the crank on the sauce maker and that allows the flotsam and jetsam of life to fall away. I can feel the warmth of a September apple in my daughter’s chubby toddler hand because I can see it in my photograph. Life becomes more real as I record it.

       I create my future self by remembering my life as I live it. I become more aware of what apples mean to me and the simple bonding capacity they lend to a family. But it doesn’t always work like this.

       As a young person I was full of conviction and hyperbole. I had a strict set of rules for my life and I was determined to live up to my high standards.

       I have glanced at my teenage notebooks maybe twice. They didn’t convince me I should refrain from making the move to tight jeans and a lower cut neck line. (Poor 15 year old me!) But I did have a good laugh at myself.

       While some of my beliefs blossom with time and meditation, I do outgrow some of my personal commandments. Whew! My husband’s relief alone has added nectar to my life.

       I am an earnest person. My journals reflect that. Sometimes I look back and I am deepened by the words and photos I’ve collected. Other times I laugh at the way I had myself buttoned in. I write to find my right way. Of course there are wrong turns as I take that journey.

       This use of my own memory fuels my future. It allows me to see that each problem I encounter today, as dubious at it appears on the page in front of me, will give me a giggle one day as I sit in a rocking chair reflecting.

       Making and keeping memories allows me to smile at that girl who swore it would be a sin to show some skin. I have compassion for my headstrong nature. Reminiscence softens my edges. Even as they are unfolding.

 

       Are you intentional about making and storing memories or do you simply let them stockpile in your brain and heart at will? How do the memories you are making today affect the you of tomorrow?

 

Momalom

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey May 14, 2010 at 8:38 am

“Life becomes more real as I record it.”

So interesting to me. I feel the same way. But then, at the same time, I wonder if my preoccupation with recording my life removes me, somehow, from the truly engaged living of it. I have wondered if it’s a defense mechanism of sorts. Don’t know if that makes sense! Thanks for another lovely post.

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rebecca May 14, 2010 at 9:10 am

Lindsey,

I know exactly what you mean and there was a time that I was living to write the memory of the moment down. Once I realized how crazy that was…I called a temporary moratorium on all pictures and journaling. It’s a balance, isn’t it…like everything in life.

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Amber May 14, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I, too, have many journals in which I recorded my deepest ambitions. For me, though, I am even more prudent now than I was then. My glimpses at the future were foggy, as they came from a 15-year-old that grew up a little too fast.

My recordings are different now. I don’t only remember the positives, I jot down the goods, the bads, and the very ugly. When I look back through my journals, I can remember those feelings. It reminds of what once was and how great I have it now.

The memories I make each day shape me into a better person. Sure, I take steps back here and there (and sometimes those steps are leaps) but, in general, I am making forward progress. I will continue to record my memories so that I can keep moving forward.

As you put it, memories, when written down, help us remember our “life as we live it.”

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Eva @ Eva Evolving May 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Love the image of making applesauce, your toddler’s chubby hands. Oh, just precious.

One of my friends is a photographer and makes a point to take photos *every* day. Even just one or two photos. It’s her way of consciously recognizing the beauty around her, and I love that exercise. Maybe i will take up photography…

But for now, Husband and I have a tradition of sharing “one good thing” about each day on our drive home. It doesn’t have to be anything big. And usually it’s something small. The apple trees in full bloom. An extra good latte at the coffee shop. An honest compliment from a coworker.

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rebecca May 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Amber,

It sounds as if journaling and sorting through the good, the bad and the very ugly has allowed the fog to clear and helped you as you progress your walk forward.

This is true for me too. As I write, I can see clearly.

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rebecca May 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Eva,

I love “one good thing”. It is cultivating a heart of gratitude. One good thing in your drive together starts your evening together on sure footing of a positive tone.

I also like that the one good thing doesn’t need to be earth shattering. Some of my best memories are wrapped up in stones carried on beaches and a pair of sunglasses.

Once I needed a strap to secure my glasses and, because we were rafting, I had little with which to work. Everything I kept trying was a failure. My husband saw my frustration and took a piece of webbing and duct tape to keep the sun out of my eyes.

I still haven’t taken that tape off those glasses. That was a good thing for me that day.

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Yvette Francino May 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I love memories. I savor them. I think we can learn a lot from our past. And by taking photos, writing journals and in other ways, creating memories, we will remind ourselves of all the wonderful miracles we have surrounding us and hopefully, be able to share those moments with others.

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Stacia May 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm

This line really grabbed me: “Life becomes more real as I record it.” I’ve been trying to tell myself that as I struggle with mothering a newborn, caring for my two older children, and still finding some time, any time, even one minute, to write and blog. And I will keep recording (or trying to), keep capturing the figurative apples in my own children’s chubby hands. =>

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rebecca May 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Yvette,

Sometimes what I learn from my past is that I am a goose! It helps me, every year to take myself less seriously. I do love sharing stories and hearing about people’s memories. It’s one of my favorite things.

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rebecca May 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Stacia,

I’ve been watching to see that baby born! I must have missed that moment…gotta go back and find it!

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Joyce Breckenridge May 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

As I was standing by our middle fence waiting for the horses to go through, I observed a flighty, very agitated mama bird hovering ove an open burl in one of our apple trees. As I passed by it, I shut one eye and peered in the hole. Low and behold, a little bird, with huge eyes & a cute beak stared calmly back at me…sooo cute! I quietly walked off, much to the mama bird’s relief. What a blessing!

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Terry May 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I love that you are able to use your memories to propel you forward. I have so many loose photographs of my children, my childhood, my mother’s childhood. I am swimming in memories.

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Rudri May 15, 2010 at 12:06 am

I like that you have a stockpile of journals. It is nice see the progression of yourself from childhood to adulthood. You can think about it in your mind, but having evidence of who you are and who you have become through journals is a great way to really reflect.

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Kristen @ Motherese May 15, 2010 at 9:31 am

“I create my future self by remembering my life as I live it.” This line really grabbed me and I’m still thinking about how it might apply to me. Like Lindsey and some of the other previous commenters, I struggle with balancing the desire to live in the moment and to capture each feeling of it, frame by frame. Photos help me, and so does writing, but I haven’t ever kept a journal in any traditional sense – and what I write about on my blog tends to be more about themes and ideas of this time of my life than about the moments.

I think about your words here, especially the word “remembering,” and wonder if remembering can be a combination of living and recording. I hope so.

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Sarah May 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I love this: “I write to find my right way. Of course there are wrong turns as I take that journey.”

I know it doesn’t specifically deal with memory when taken out of context, but I adore that line. Because there are so many, many wrong turns–in the past and the present alike–and we can only become the best version of ourselves by doing something that we love, no matter how many mistakes we make along the way, or bad words we write.

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rebecca May 17, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Sarah,

I make more wrong turns than I write….I mean right.

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