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. 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 just 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 in your past too that you 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. So cue the ‘enjoy this’ messages, right?

Pin this image so you can come back to this post for a reminder of the things I’m sure you’ll want to remember!

Here’s what I want you to know:

When you’re feeling your heart swell over all the things your future self is going to miss, you can DO something about it. 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.

Pay attention to what matters and record it in the easiest way possible.

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. 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).

Like anything else — starting a new job, budgeting your money, starting to exercise, starting to eat healthier — the hardest part STARTING. Documenting gets easier. Fun, even! 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.

I’d love to help you get over the hurdle of starting by walking you through preserving ONE of the great stories in your life (using your camera) in 5 days. We start on June 15th, 2017. I’ll be preserving one of my own stories right alongside you – showing you the BTS the whole way. Let’s commit to consuming less of everyone else’s photos + stories and start consuming more of what’s around us off-screen. Learn more about the Save-a-Story Initiative here. 

Let’s start a conversation. Comment below: What’s the hardest part in managing your living memories and documenting your life?  

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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