What You Want to Remember (That You Might Not See Yet)

I have no doubt you’ve experienced times where you felt like you hit the fast forward button. “How did I get here?!” flashes in your mind. That happened to me Sunday night when our daughter read us a book: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess. She’s a 5 year old learning to read. I literally looked to my husband and said, “How is this happening? How do we have a reader? We just brought her home from the hospital.”

When she was 3, she ‘read’ the same book to me, skipping pages here and there. Back then, she read from memory, not from words on the page. I can still hear “would you, could you?” with her sweet 3 year old heart saying those words with much emphasis. Sunday, she read the book (from its words this time) almost flawlessly.

For all the great moments like these, we also have many of frustration, power battles, meltdowns, destruction, defeat, messes, endless whining, sibling bickering, you know, the usual. In these times, I still find myself in the center of wishing for this stage to pass even though the whisper of “enjoy this” plays in my mind.

Sometimes, I can’t enjoy it even when I try.

We hear this ‘enjoy this’ message allllll the time. You’re gonna miss this. Embrace the chaos. ENJOY them while their little. “The days are long, but the years are short,” — NY Times Best Selling Author, Gretchen Rubin.

All wise messages and wonderful reminders full of truth.

It hits home for me when I think about what’s already passed.

Not just with my kids, but in my whole life. 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20.

There are things I miss and missing them doesn’t feel good. I want more, but life has changed, grown, and evolved. I legit can’t re-create those experiences that I loved so much. It feels like loss. It’s been hard to accept the wonderful things that came to an end — especially when they include the lives of loved ones that have ended.

I’m sure you can think of memories that you, too, wish for ‘just one more’ of.

Where you crave another experience, another time shared with a loved one who is no longer with you, just one day back in the shoes you used to wear when life was more calm and less demanding. We know this is going to continue to happen too — today will eventually become the distant past. Cue the ‘enjoy this’ messages, right?

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Here’s what I want you to know:

When you’re feeling your heart swell over the things your future self will someday miss, you can DO something about it. Today. Right now.

In the heat of the moment,, when you would slug whoever dares telling you to ‘enjoy this,’ you can DO something to make it a little easier.

Something wildly powerful. An investment in your memory bank. A priceless gift for your future self and for your loved ones. Something simple and disruptive to your life.

Something for all the things you couldn’t enjoy in the moment by allowing you to enjoy them later.

Something that doesn’t prevent the lasts or the endings, but is an antidote for total disconnection and fuzzy memories of all the people, places, and stories that matter.

All you need to do:

Document it.

It doesn’t have to be with your camera. Documenting takes many shapes. Pay attention to what matters and record it in the easiest way possible. This can include NOT fully documenting it now, but vowing to remember to remember it later.

What?! I know, it sounds weird, but you can train your mind to ACKNOWLEDGE the memory in the moment. Jot it down on your To-Remember list. I’ve created one for you here.

Then, you can do something with it, when it feels right, with the medium you find most fitting.

It’s not about documenting everyyyything and losing presence. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about documenting what matters enough that a pattern is created in your brain. This pattern allows you to live more mindful and aware of when you’re experiencing the highest form of value in your life, so you can appreciate and acknowledge it in the moment rather than when its passed (when it’s over and too late).

Or at least, when you’re kid is losing their sh*t you can push pause, and enjoy the experience later from a different perspective.

Ease into Documenting

You can do this by writing quick notes or full on journaling. You can use video. Your camera. Whatever feels easy to you.

Personally, I’ve used my camera to live with more presence and mindfulness while literally putting stories via pictures on my walls throughout our home. Side-note: You do not have to have any kind of photography skill to make a picture of something important to you. Use your camera for documenting what you truly want to remember (not everything and anything). There’s no judgement around a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ picture when you’re shooting for yourself. You just have to recognize it and shoot it (or write it, record it, whatever works for you).

It’s not another thing on top of many to do or a checklist to accomplish + complete. Documenting can be one of your lifestyle habits that you actually look forward to and reap the benefits of mindfulness, presence, and tangible memories both now and later.

Like anything else — starting a new job, budgeting your money, starting to exercise, starting to eat healthier — the hardest part STARTING, or if you’ve been here before, reconnecting with your “Value Vision” as I call it.

You ready?

Here’s how to start:

I’d recommend starting by taking a pause and looking at your life – in all areas. Think of all the parts of you, all your relationships, all the locations + environments you spend time in. Write down all the vivid mental pictures that pop into your mind. Start there. I’ve created this To-Remember List Playbook (click here) to help you curate + collect all the things.

Then, as you look at what came up, some of those items will jump off the page. THOSE things are probably what you wanna remember most. So excited for you to start and because I’m nosey – share what comes up for you with me in the comments, in an email, or over on Instagram.

What’s the hardest part in managing your living memories and documenting your life? Comment below.

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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