If you have been following me, you know I have been scanning my scrap books to create digital files. We had a fire come within five houses of us in June, so it was a wake-up call. I was prepared, but it got me thinking about my memories. I have all my photos saved or backed up digitally, but the memories would be burned up and lost forever.
I started in 2020 and have been working my way back. I’m at year 1991 right now, and I’ve learned some things from my walk down memory lane. First, how many birthday cards do I need? Oh, my goodness. Yes, I am sentimental, what can I say. I figure if someone takes the time to find just the right card and mail it, I should savor it. Each card reminds me of a life in mine – a relationship that has stood the test of time. I am grateful for every friend.
Secondly, not all friends are forever. I’m a loyal person who invests and gives her all to relationships, so this was a tough one for me to discover through the years. Some people are only for a season. Sometimes the seasons are long, and sometimes they are brief. Each relationship can teach us lessons if we look for them. I had to cut times with some toxic, one-sided relationships that I allowed. Others just gently faded away through many moves. A few were casualties of my life’s battles, and those were the hardest to lose.
Those lost friends still taught me this: don’t toss out the good with the bad. I have a tendency to try and forget painful experiences. When my dad died, my mom erased his existence. We were to never speak his name again. Ouch! This was not a good way to cope. I have tried to accept the bad with the good through life – embrace the ups and the downs – but I can fall into this trap. So, I continue to work on being thankful for the good times in the midst of the bad. This year has given me ample opportunity to practice this concept!
Looking back at my life, I have had some horrific years. Yet, as I scrolled the pages, there was also laughter, love, joy, and fun! Life is like a long road. It will have some bumps, potholes, curves, and maybe even some road detours. We don’t stop the journey just because the journey got rough; no, we press on.
Spending too much time in your past can be detrimental unless you ensure your lens is one of gratitude and thanksgiving. So, as you look back at your life, accept that some unpleasant things happened, but you also came through. You lived, loved, and laughed. You became stronger, grew, matured, and hopefully became a better version of yourself. That is all any of us can hope for, yes?
In one of my scrap books, I found this appropriate message. I know we can find anything on the internet these days, but a tattered piece of paper has character and personality. I shall miss it, but I at least have it saved on my computer:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to ear the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Should you want assistance processing your past, a coach can do wonders! I’d be proud to come along side of you and help you create your best life.