Hey, remember those fifteen years we spent watching TV and playing video games? said no one, ever.
I think some people forget to live. The most important part of my life is building memories. And I don’t want to build them every now and then, but every day, as many and as often as possible. Something inside me started changing a few years ago. I’m not exactly sure when, but I think it may have started when I began my college career and was figuring out where to transfer after I got my two-year degree knocked out.
It was as though after I figured out I could go to college and learn how to face challenges, nothing could stop me. By golly, if I could go to college, why, I could also do something other than sit at home reading or feeding an internet junkie disposition. It started with taking a course I really wanted that cost money. I defied my (now ex-) husband to do it. Then I started dancing and baking to get myself up off the chair. Pretty soon I was taking the kids to the park on a regular basis and window shopping to get myself out of the house.
A divorce came shortly after these changes, then a new boyfriend and a solo road trip prior to moving in with him. Chicago and St. Louis. Little Rock. A disastrous relationship, but I will say that I had a number of quite memorable experiences while with him. He encouraged my new appetite for living. I lived almost every single day.
The horrific end of that relationship brought me across the country for the first time to California, where I met a friend who was coming out of his own homebody shell to experience life and who wanted to do it with me.
The point of all this is that I’ve had both wondrous and horrific experiences since my “awakening” those years ago. I can’t begin to describe all the change and growth that’s befallen me because of it. I’ve lived more in the last two years of my life than in the other twenty-six of them combined. Indelible in me are new-found levels of compassion, understanding, and adventure. I’m more likely to cause changes in my life and to avert problems by being proactive about more; I vary my activities so that I don’t wear a rut in my path.
The most important part of my life right now is building a story to tell my great-grandchildren and helping my children to build their own stories. When I’m too old for adventures I want to have countless numbers of them to relive in my memories. And I want to help give others those memories too. I want to talk and laugh with my friends, to play cards and dice and board games, to do some extreme sports so we can look back and say, “Yes, we did that together.” I want people to look back on me as a person who always made them feel valued and cared for, who “did that one thing, that one time, remember?” I want people to remember me as the girl who “got them” and didn’t try to change who they were. I think my bucket list reflects this new version of me.
Nobody remembers the girl who spent her time holed up at home. No girl remembers the time she spent holed up at home.
Live. Build memories. Build a story. The only way you live on after you die is in others’ memories. Make sure you live on, and in a way you’d really want to.