I was handed a package of letters that I had written a long time ago, when I lived in New Zealand. My mother had kept them and gave them back to me and reading through them I was amazed at how much I had forgotten. I realise I was then in my 20s so was working and playing hard. Memories were jolted of my time meeting up with the Japanese Under 22 rugby team, travelling over the Southern Alps to see U2 in concert, having numerous barbeques and late night “lock-ins” in the local pubs. I headed up an Occupational Therapy department in a psychiatric hospital and dealt with presentations, avoiding staff redundancies, setting up new community projects, attending Special Olympics, doing a solo turn at the staff concert as Max Boyce and so much more. I was able to travel up and down New Zealand not only for courses but for squash and badminton competitions and to see my boyfriend, at the time, on a sheep farm.
Why is this relevant now, many decades later? It just shows the importance of creating memories.
If we just go through life on auto – pilot what have we got to look back on and savour? The reason these events came back to me was that I had written them down, in the form letters and sent back to the UK. I’m sure if we had emails back then, I would not be able find them now in an ever full digital overload of information.
This is partly why every year I do a memory jar. An initial empty jar that sits in the kitchen and into it I write down any event/situation that has made me feel happy/pleased/proud/ excited. A little post-it with the date and what happened – a Reiki teaching weekend that I loved, an amazing sunset, the sighting of a hedgehog, a compliment. I’m not waiting for big amazing things to happen, almost every day there can be something to wonder at or feel good about.
The great thing about the memory jar is that on 31 December I tip out all the post-its and read what I had written, and quite possibly forgotten, and those memories for the year just gone make me smile and feel warm inside. The overall view of the year just gone, 2020, may have felt all doom and gloom but there have been shafts of sunlight and pleasure throughout which I probably would have ignored or taken for granted had I not popped it in my memory jar.
So whilst we are in the first week of January and although we have gone back into lockdown why not dig out a jam jar or vase, place it somewhere accessible alongside a pen and post-it notes and start making your memories for this year.