Memories Are Made Outside the Box

door_co_memoriesWhat 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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  1. The tip about taking the scenic route reminds me of the time I took the scenic route to work, the first time I drove to work by myself. It wasn’t on purpose, but it was rather fascinating. I was headed from Mountlake Terrace to Bothell, WA, and I missed a turn. I got a bit concerned when I ended up in Maltby, which is beyond Bothell, and at the time I had no idea where Maltby was. I was further concerned when I arrived in Clearview, which I had never heard of. I finally got turned around and got to work 2 hours late. When I explained the reason for my lateness, everyone laughed and it was OK. I wouldn’t want to repeat the mistake because I’d rather get to work on time, but it’s still a pretty fun memory.

  2. Kristin says:

    One memory that I hope will stick with my kids forever is when the Extreme Home Makeover team was building a house in a nearby town. I volunteered for the build. It was awesome. I had overheard that a bunch of people were going to be camping out the night before the big reveal and my kids were dying to go too. I okayed their missing school the following day and away we went, myself, my 2 daughters and a friend. We got snacks and movies and got to the sight around midnight, in the pouring rain, only to find out that we were the only ones there! We camped out in our very crowded minivan, watched movies and hung out with the volunteers all night, in the rain. We had a blast, just knowing this was a once in a lifetime thing. And we got to meet the design team. Bonus!

    • Kristin,
      That is so cool! Good for you for not being like many Adultitis-ridden parents who would have said, “There’s no way you’re missing school!” Those once in a lifetime things only come along, like, once in a lifetime. Sometimes we have to break the rules that don’t exist.

    • Wow! That’s awesome!! I’m jealous. :-)

  3. Hey, Ed Debevic’s (in LA) is one of my favorite memories, too!

    My husband and I discovered Ed’s when we were dating, and it became a favorite spot for us. When our parents met for the first time, we looked for a location halfway between their cities, and decided on Ed’s — not exactly a parent-friendly restaurant, but we loved it. I still remember my future mother-in-law’s reaction to the overly-forward waiter: she honestly didn’t know what to make of the place or the people!

    Unfortunately, Ed’s has been gone for a while, but we drive by the location frequently when we’re in LA, and I still get a happy feeling remembering those good times.

    • I suppose rude waiters and waitresses have been around forever, but whoever made it into a unique selling position (Ed, I suppose?) is quite the genius.

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