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

The other night when our daughter read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess. She’s a 5-year-old learning to read. When she was 3, she ‘read’ the same book to me (you can see here), skipping pages here + 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.

This time, she read the book (from its words this time) almost flawlessly.

I looked to my husband and said, “HOW is this happening? How do we have a reader? We JUST brought her home from the hospital.”

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 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 the ‘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, but they rarely stick with me.

I hear the words, but I don’t feel them. I just keep living + moving.

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. We can’t always re-create those experiences that we love so much.

It feels like loss. Like the rug’s been pulled out from under our feet.

It’s been especially hard to accept the wonderful things that came to an end 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?
  • To spend a little time with past you?

We know this today will eventually become the distant past. So, cue the ‘enjoy this’ messages and hope we don’t miss out on FEELING today, right?

What if there’s a better way to FEEL today + hold onto the connection?

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.

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In the heat of the moment, when you’d rather slug whoever dares spouting ‘enjoy this’ when you’re knee deep in meltdowns and messes, you can DO something to make it a little easier.

In the moments where you’re fully present, there but maybe not aware the magnitude of the moment, you can train your brain to emerge & FEEL the magnitude.

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 the antidote for total disconnection + fuzzy memories of all the people, places, and stories that matter.

This is it:

Document it.

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.

It doesn’t even 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 and you’ll start to see these little things that matter pop up everywhere.

Consider it intentional serendipity.

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

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 and love literally putting stories (pictures) on the 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 document it. Shoot it, 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 enjoy 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:

Start by taking a pause and looking at your life — in all areas. Not just what’s immediately in front of you (which tends to lead to many people seeing their kids, maybe they’re spouse, and that’s about it). 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 (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.

Extra note from me (Marie):

I’m SO excited for you to start and because I’m nosey, please 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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