Sometimes life seems to fly by. We get up every morning, follow through our routine, drive to work, spend 8+ hours enclosed in the same four walls, drive back home, make dinner, help the kids do their homework, maybe watch some TV, and go back to bed. Before we know it, the holiday seasons rolls back around and as New Year’s Eve approaches we stop and wonder “Was this a good year?”
When we think back to moments we felt happy, we tend to remember situations that made us laugh, that made us feel connected to others, times when we discovered new places, or had unique experiences. In short, we are happy when we create new memories. Memories give us a sense of ‘having lived’, they are the stories we tell our friends and one day will share with our grand-children, they are the moments that define who we truly are and what values we place in our lives.
It doesn’t always have to be something extravagant like a 2-week vacation to the other side of the world as even fun activities one afternoon can become a memory that stays with you the rest of your life. For example, I will never forget one Sunday afternoon last fall when Jeremy and I went to the largest corn maze in north Georgia (4 miles!!). It was so much fun trying to not get lost and working together to find the shortest path to the 12 different check points. So how can you add new memories to your life?
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices going. How about seeing a live concert of your favorite artist or a completely new artist whose music genre you like. There are local theaters, art festivals and comedy clubs. Or get active and find a nice hiking trail around your area, sign up for a 5K run/walk or pack up the car and go camping for 2 days. Set up a date night with your spouse and discover a new restaurant or pack a picnic basket for the outdoors, sign up for a wine tasting or an afternoon painting class. Check out your local museums and attractions (I’ve no idea why we never do that in the city we live in?!), see when your church choir is practicing and listen in or find a good cause you’d like to volunteer your time to. Shall I go on?
I find inspiration in local newspapers and free magazines you often get at the entrance of a grocery store or restaurant. Check online for ‘things to do in [your city/town]’ and sign up to event updates like “LiveNation” or newsletters of your favorite music artists. Often local parks and outdoor attractions have an event calendar on their websites. The resources are endless and once you have set yourself up, most ideas will simply fly into your inbox.
Now you might think “I don’t have time for this” or “that requires a lot of organizing”. Yes! You do have the time. Life is all about prioritization and only you can decide to prioritize the fun aspects of your life. And yes, it may take a little time to arrange your plans and sometimes it might seem like a struggle to ‘get there’ but let’s admit it, when you look back to your favorite memories, don’t you always just remember the good bits?
There is one last tip I’d like to offer and that is to keep record of what you’ve been up to all year long. This doesn’t require anything fancy. It could be a calendar in your kitchen or a simple printed calendar you keep in a place you see often. On December 31st, when you finally look back to the past year, all you need is a quick reminder that will instantaneously jog your memory and bring a bright smile onto your face.
It’s not too late to create new memories for 2017! Just set 30 minutes this weekend aside and start exploring the many possibilities to make this year a ‘good year’.