I used to work with a bloke years ago who collected memento’s from most of the important times of his life. He had a piece of volcanic rock from his honeymoon in Lanzarote, a branded napkin from the place he had his daughter christened and no end of other things.
Each of these oddments he had collected triggered a powerful memory and definitely bought a smile to his face when he described them to me.
I remember thinking at the time how nice that was but it just sounded like too much effort and the storage requirements; well I always imagined he had a trophy room where all these mementos were neatly displayed in racks on the wall.
A fanciful idea but what about our own trophy rooms: our memories. The only things we will have of any value as we get old and creaky. I have written about this before but this weekend I was reminded of the importance of actually doing something about it.
Of course we all remember stuff but here’s the thing: when we are submerged in our everyday lives, especially if we are energised and engaged by what we do, we store very few valuable memories. Worse than that we don’t care because we are so wrapped up in the here-and-now whilst we are “building for the future”.
Well, consider this. How many people who have plenty of money, rattle around in a large empty house and always turn left when they get on a plane sadly have very few precious memories to look back on? Too many I reckon but the trick, of course, is not to become one of them.
These are the key stages of your life that as soon as they have gone can never be recaptured. If you don’t create memories at the time you never can.
- Childhood – gone now but proves the point I think you’ll agree
- Student years – no responsibilities, freedom for the first time, surrounded by your mates and all your life in front of you.
- Single and employed – a bit like a student but with more money really.
- As a couple – enjoying enormous freedom, spare cash and just enjoying being together and making the most of it all.
- Family – children make it all worthwhile but less time, less cash and always doing something for somebody mostly involving being an unpaid taxi driver.
- Empty nest – children don’t need you any more; nothing for it – have to spend time with the other half I suppose but better off and all the wiser for it.
- Retirement – perhaps this may begin with taking your foot of the gas, semi-retirement and the the gold watch. Too much time: oh dear God!
- The Home – nothing left now except occasional visits from your reluctant relatives and your memories. Hope you have some.
This is the nub of it all: we regularly regret the things we didn’t do in earlier stages but seldom do much about the stage we are in and so create future-regret. That is the real tragedy of it all.
But what can be done? Well, whatever stage you are in make the most of it: arrange at least two memory days a month and plenty of Oasis time (http://wp.me/pY2x4-5d) for yourself.
Typical memory days are centred on: –
- Travel – holidays but also other trips closer to home
- Experiences – anything out of the ordinary that you can actually do
- People – doing stuff with the ones you love especially if it happens to be something they like doing.
And remember when you create another display for your trophy room you are also doing the same for everybody else involved. Kids love it and they appreciate the value of memory days more than anybody else. Stage 5, for me, is the golden stage.
I have been lucky. After a particularly dark (but very, very engaging) time of my life which ended with a personal epiphany I set about filling my trophy room with a vengeance and haven’t looked back since. Mrs Ames and I have only just entered stage 6 but my trophy room already stretches over two separate post codes!
It’s not about having a charmed or unblemished life its actually about making the most of every moment and realising that he that ends up with the most money in the end is almost certainly not going to be the winner.
I feel very strongly about this subject so if this post has touched you please send the link to others who you feel would benefit from it and do feel free to Twitter the link if that’s your bag.
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