One simple word. That’s all it is. That’s all it comes down to. Memories. Memories that have been made, memories that have been lost. How we remember ourselves and how others remember us. That’s how simple it is really.
Whilst doing my annual sort of my belongings, I have come across many memories. Memories contained by photographs, cards and letters. Each one striking a different chord, a different emotion. Happiness. Sadness. Joy. Guilt. Regret. Longing. Anger. It’s funny really. With each passing year, as each past memory gets older the emotion that I’ve sub-consciously attached to it gets stronger. New ones emerge too. Recent memories that I thought I had discarded have re-surfaced with feelings of regret and guilt in the present intertwined with the joys and happiness of how it was in the past.
“We don’t remember days, we remember moments” – Cesare Pavese
Looking at life through rose-tinted glasses is what they call it. An optimistic perception. Remembering the good times and forgetting all of the bad. The thing is though, certain people will always remind you of a sour taste, even if they have changed and are no longer reminiscent of the person that they were at the time. It is not their fault. It is not your fault. It just is what it is.
An angel to some but a devil to other. Who is right and who is wrong? Neither and yet, both. We meet a variety of people throughout our lives, and on each one we will leave an impression. An experience. A memory. They may remember us in a positive light, or in a negative light, but either we become a memory. Stored away. And one day that person may see, hear, read or do something that brings that memory to the fore and that is how they will remember us.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become an advocate of the phrase that success should not be defined by the size of your wallet. I have never quite worked out what success could be though. A happy life? A long life? A life without regrets? But what if a happy life isn’t necessarily a long one? Or a long life isn’t a happy one? And how can anyone claim to have lived life and not had a single regret?
But experiences. Tokens. Memories. These are things we collect whether it be though the written word, the spoken word or pictures. And we collect them throughout our life without every truly thinking about why. They live in that pile of paper stuffed in the bottom of your drawer, or those photo albums that you can’t quite remember where you left them, or the pages of the diary you may – or may not – have kept.
We live on in the memories of others and, at one point, memories will be all we have. So do what you want. Be who you want to be. Live life how you want and live life for you. Your only limitation is yourself; you only get one shot at it after all.
Memories eh? One simple word. That’s all it is. That’s all it comes down to.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr Seuss