Making memorable moments boosts overall happiness

by Miranda Cloyd

What do you remember about the past 10 years of your life? How about five? What about the past year? Chances are, you do not remember something from every day or even every week of your recent life. We often fail to make memorable moments because we become caught up in the daily grind rather than the experiences of life.

Last year, I read a book called “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller. In his book, Miller tells stories of memorable moments of his life. Miller created memories through a series of risk, spontaneity and great conversation. He argues that if we simply go through life in the rut of routine, we will end up living essentially forgettable lives.

Miller’s stories are not only about his own choices to make memories, but also how he was affected by the memory-making decisions of others. He shares a time that he met a family who invited him and his friends to stay at their cabin. When they were leaving the next day, the whole family ran outside and jumped into the lake as an enthusiastic goodbye. The family’s spontaneous choice not only created a memory for them, but ingrained an image in Miller’s mind for the rest of his life. Their seemingly simple choice became part of his life story.

Living “forgettably” is surprisingly easy to do. In fact, it comes naturally. The motions we go through each day may seem important at the time, but in hindsight, they are not worth remembering. Our time gets sucked up doing homework, paying bills, watching movies and checking social networking sites.

We waste much of our time on simple, mindless entertainment. Movies have their time and place, but how many more exciting things could we do with two hours? Facebook, Twitter and other social media may seem remarkably interesting at the time, but even one week from now we will forget whatever held our attention so strongly.

The mundane tasks of day-to- day life can seem demanding and urgent, and some are. I do not deny the importance of being a dedicated student or working hard to pay the bills, but rather argue that those tasks should be balanced with memory-making moments. If we get too caught up in our to-do lists, we will miss out on opportunities to create moments worth remembering.

Creating lasting moments may sound daunting, but we can all find practical activities to take part in to make extraordinary memories. Do random acts of kindness, go for a drive, create a new recipe, make a music video or just try something you have never done before. The key to making these memories is to share them with others. Invite someone along on the next random adventure you take and see what kind of story comes out of it.

Our memory-making moments not only impact us, but also impact the people around us. Intentionally creating a point in time worth remember can give someone else a story, too. We contribute to the creation of our own collage of memories simultaneously to adding to the collage of others.

I do not want to look back on my life in 50 years and wonder how I spent my time. I hope to look back and see a mo- saic of memories. What do you want your life’s rear-view mirror to reflect?

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