Preserving Memories

We are taking more than 1 trillion pictures a day but so many of us say we do not know how to keep our precious memories.

I decided to personally embark on this new project this year to see if I could set an example of how to manage the huge volume of sentimental stuff.

I turned 40 and that tends to give some poignant reflection. Our brains are both flexible and wired to create a narrative that serves us well. So, at 40 I am thinking how I tell my life story so far to my son and to myself in a way that abbreviates by necessity and by design. I have also become more sentimental and reflective.

The project that I have embarked on requires cutting to the chase and getting it done. I am not one to spend years in formation of something perfect. It’s one of the many reasons that so many vocations are unsuitable for me. Good enough is actually good enough, then I need to move on.

I have also been spurred on by spending the last 4 years in a self-chosen vocation to sort out people’s belongings. In over 150 homes I have heard over 150 poignant stories of how belongings shape our lives, and then taken over 2000 bags of recycling, waste or donations coming out of said homes. So it proffers me a unique insight; there isn’t much in life that you have control over, but what you do with your possessions is one of those rare areas you can call the shots.

So, I have started to create proper memory boxes of physical items of our lives, photobooks of the family archive and 30 minute films of key chapters. I want to create a distilled and accessible route to my key memories.

It requires discipline (you simply cannot put everything in), a sense of story and celebration (I have to choose my take on more difficult parts of the narrative), and a time limit. I will want to have this project completed for my son’s 8th birthday as my gift to him.

There will be a part 2 of course and the memory boxes can be added to, but it’s vital to me that this is done. I see far too many people say they want to do this and then it never happens. Then one day it’s too late and when you need those accessible, easily brought memories they are not there.

We have seen the lofts stuffed full of memories and the giant boxes of unsorted photographs. I am increasingly seeing computers full of uncategorized footage. Where do you start when it becomes imperative to remind yourself who you are?

So that is why I have started my project and suggest you make a plan if this is on your ‘to do’ list as well.

An understanding of who we are in context boosts self-esteem, and to celebrate our positive adventures is proven to relive them afresh. So, for the reasons to do it and the reasons why it would be unthinkable if we didn’t, let’s do this and put time to preserve our memories.