Nothing lasts forever. Intellectually, we all know this to be true. But we humans are not just intellectual beings. And recalling a special memory is not merely an intellectual exercise. We are highly emotional beings. For the most part, it is not the details of an event we hope to retain, but the emotion of that event. You are not going to precisely recall the details of the flavor of the drink you were holding at the time when you were at Coney Island watching Joey Chestnut break the hotdog eating contest world record. But you will recall how you felt when you got his autograph and took a selfie with him.
There are some moments that are lost because we were too busy trying to preserve them. It is possible to spend so much time fumbling for your camera, connecting the right lens, and searching through the viewfinder that you miss the moment when your favorite celebrity walked out of McDonald’s enjoying one of their guilty pleasures. Even if you have the camera at the ready, you will miss the live scene with your own two eyes, trading that moment for seeing through the artificial eye of a camera lens. That’s no way to preserve the moment. Here are a few better options:
Take a moment to recall some of the most stunning antique glassware
you have seen over the course of your lifetime. When done right, it can be truly stunning. That glassware was likely something commissioned for the purpose of preserving a special moment in someone’s life. Sometimes, the pictures etched on the glass are from random models. Other times, they are the special someone that made the world go around for someone else.
When you find that kind of item in your attic, take special note of it and learn the history. If you don’t have any such items, purchase an antique and make it an integral part of your future history. Offer it as a gift when one of your kids reaches a particular milestone in their life. It could be for the birth of a first child, or the first day of an important career move. Life is full of moments worth commemorating. Don’t trust the emotion of those moments to faulty memory. Mark that valuable moment with an item that also possesses intrinsic value.
Flowers are often used as the core of a romantic gesture. You can also use them in other ways. Consider a DiY graduation bouquet
. The great thing about using flowers to mark an occasion is that those flowers trigger a visceral sense memory deep in our lizard brain. Years later, you can see a flower or smell its fragrance and be transported back in time as if via a time machine. The memories are often even more vivid than a photograph or video tape. That is because the memory is an emotional memory triggered by your senses.
Even the flowers don’t have to fade away like a fading memory. You can use pro tips for drying flowers and preserving bouquets
. It is a lot easier than you think. If you only know flowers as the sort of thing that requires a lot of care and that lasts only a short time, think again. Flowers are a surprisingly great way to commemorate an important moment in your family’s history.
Make a Family Journal
Diaries don’t have to be personal. They can be more like journals intended for marking and sharing special moments. Make a family journal where everyone shares a paragraph or two about a special moment, be it a vacation or party or any other meaningful event. Pass this journal down so that it can span the generations. Each successive generation will learn a lot about the last just by reading their thoughts on the special moments in their lives. Not only will your kids have a piece of family history they helped to create, they will be able to have their families literally add new chapters to the adventure.
Your family history is valuable. Preserve that family value by using antique items, flowers to trigger sense memory, and a living journal for adding new thoughts on your happily ever afters.