What are your favorite memories? You know, the mental Polaroids that will stay with you forever; the treasured times spent with friends or family that always seem to get brought up and relived when you’re together.
For me, just off the top of my head, I think of my wedding day, the day Lucy was born, family vacations in Door County, two surprise birthday parties, early-morning fishing trips with my dad and uncle, feeding giraffes with my mouth, and an eighth grade school field trip to Chicago to eat at Ed Debevic’s and watch Michael Jordan play hoops.
Those memories all occurred at various points of my life, but one thing they all have in common is that they didn’t happen as part of my normal, day-to-day routine. They were special events, a break from the norm. Some required a good bit of planning, others were dependent on good ol’ fashioned spontaneity. I bet you can say the same thing about your own best memories.
Most of our days follow a certain pattern and offer a degree of sameness. It’s a natural part of the rhythm of life. If every single day were wildly varied and unexpected, we’d probably burn out pretty fast. However, whether it’s going to school or going to work, this predictable routine can often lead to ruts.
And ruts are those moldy places where Adultitis likes to fester.
In order to create memories — the ones that we remember ’till we’re old and grey and dependent on Depends — we need to break out of the box that is our normal routine. We need to schedule time for something different. We need to open ourselves up to spontaneity. For instance…
- Go to a completely different restaurant for your next date night.
- Take a day off from work for no reason and go do something fun.
- Go to an opera (or a comedy club or a musical or a hockey game or an orchestral performance) for the first time.
- Visit the airport, even if you don’t have anywhere to go.
- Take the scenic route home.
I want to thank a teacher from Cassville, Wisconsin for sharing the tip that memories are indeed made outside of the box. It’s a reminder we all need to hear.
We should always be looking for ways to find fun and gratitude in the daily routine of our lives. But we also need to be mindful of making time for memories, which are often the result of doing something new.
No one ever gets to the end of their life and says, “I just wish I’d spent more time at the office.” A well-lived life has a big honkin’ treasure chest of memories, most of which are made by breaking free from the day-to-day.
What are some of your favorite memories that resulted from something spontaneous?
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