#5 CREATE MEMORIES

Choices for Happiness - #5 Seek opportunities to create happy memories

MEMORIES

As my 12 Choices for Happiness month continues I want to talk about "seeking opportunities to create memories". I read about this somewhere back in 2011 possibly in this post (I'm not 100% sure) and it really struck a chord with me because positive memories of fun occasions instil in us a sense of happiness and are often great ways to combat times when we feel a little bit flat or unappreciated.

Coincidentally, my friend Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 and Beyond asked me to write a guest post for her "Month of Celebrating Life Now" - she turns 60 in August and wants to make this month one big party. I was really pleased to be asked and thought this post on creating happy memories throughout life could be expanded on further - so if you want to read more later feel free to pop over and wish Sue a happy birthday on Thursday when I'm over there too.

CREATE OCCASIONS

Behavioural neuroscientist Dr Jee Hyun Kim says that we can't pick and choose what we want to remember, our brain will only record a time in our lives that it thinks is important.

“When something happens, when something feels important or an event triggers a lot of emotion or is visually stimulating, then our brain decides maybe it’s something it should keep in mind for the future,” 
So, my take away from that quote is that it's really important to make sure we create occasions that are filled with good times - lots of fun and joy and laughter, moments where we feel really engaged and connected with the situation and with the people we share it with.


Life is passing rapidly. Fiercely commit to every moment you find beautiful and remember it. Record it. Fully, whole-heartedly inhabit it.

BEING A PARTY POOPER

I am not a great lover of parties as a whole - I find them loud, confronting and they often leave me feeling a little awkward and a bit of a wallflower. It just doesn't seem worth the effort to throw myself into large get togethers - I tend to do them under sufferance and leave as soon as it's polite to do so - I think I have a bit of a reputation for being one of the first out the door!

A CHANGE OF HEART

When I read the article about creating opportunities to make memories I thought about the fact that my 50th birthday was looming and I had planned on doing nothing to mark the occasion. The thought of a big birthday bash left me cold, I'm useless at girlie get togethers and weekend spa retreats, there was nothing that really appealed and I hadn't bothered to make much of an effort in thinking about it.

Well that changed and I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't let the day go by without doing something to mark the occasion. It wasn't about having a big hoopla, it was about doing something that made me happy - not stressed or pressured. It was about having a fun moment with some friends and not turning it into a production.

MY 50TH BIRTHDAY

So, the 50th birthday party loomed and I settled on inviting a group of friends who all knew each other already (no outsiders to have to keep an eye on) and our daughter came to represent the family. It was a simple barbeque lunch and a time to just chat and laugh and catch up with each other. I was relaxed, I had fun, and I didn't feel any pressure or have any unmet expectations.

We took a few photos - and people just looked happy - because we were. I've included one taken with my husband because it reflects how I was feeling and it is one of my favourite photos. Even now, five years later, I look at it and smile - it creates happiness and brings back good memories.


MEMORIES ARE FOREVER

Dr Kim said memories often change our behaviour, and what we remember can influence things we say and do.
“They make us better equipped to seek out things that make us happy and avoid the things that make us unhappy”
Taking the opportunities that come our way and making them special gives us a way to choose happiness and reinforce it in our lives. It doesn't have to be a milestone birthday, it can be a Sunday drive, or a coffee with a friend, it can be a picnic, or a day with the family - it's how we engage with the event, how we invest ourselves into it that matters. 

I am a big fan of creating happy memories - when I'm old and grey, they will still be with me and will be little rays of sunshine forever. So let's choose to create happy memories every opportunity that comes our way - it's a great way to build up our happiness levels and fight the doldrums.
Choices for Happiness - #5 Seek opportunities to create happy memories

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38 comments

  1. I love creating happy memories! Sometimes I wonder what my legacy will be with my children and what memories of their childhood they will treasure the most once I'm gone.

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

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    1. I wonder the same thing Ingrid - our kids grew up when there were no digital photos - so we don't have all that many of ourselves especially - parents today will hopefully have more pictures of themselves and of family events.

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  2. Sometimes people think I'm over the top when I want to take photos at gatherings or events in my life. Leading up to my 60th birthday, my husband wanted some photos of my life. I had them and looking at them brought such wonderful memories back. I think creating memories with my family and friends is hopefully a way for them to remember me fondly when I'm no longer here.

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    1. I wish I took more photos (and better photos!) Sue - at the time it might seem annoying, but it does leave a legacy long after the event doesn't it?

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  3. I love creating happy memories. I love taking photos too and creating journals and scrapbooks. Glad you had a good birthday x

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    1. I am terrible at scrapbooking Kerry! But I do put my photos into albums and I love looking back on all those memories.

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  4. I take a lot of photos of my son, but both hubby and I don't like having our photo taken. Sometimes I worry there won't be many family photographic memories for him to look back on :/

    Di from Max The Unicorn

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    1. We're a bit the same Di - especially pre-digital photos because you didn't want to waste photos on yourself - now people can take a million and delete most of them and it doesn't matter. Hopefully there will be enough of me on film for my kids to remember who their mother was!

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  5. I've been a bit scarce on photos of us in recent years. Plenty of photos of places taken, but few of us. Good food for thought.

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    1. I know what you mean Vanessa - I have lots of travel snaps, but only a few of them have me in them. If it wasn't for FB and needing to put up something to show where I was at the time, there wouldn't be any!

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  6. Making memories is important. It was my Mother's birthday yesterday and all she kept saying was this is so nice, I have all my favorite people with me.

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    1. I can't believe your Mum turned 98 Jennifer! At that stage of life it's all about memories isn't it - and I'd like as many of mine as possible to be happy ones.

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  7. I have so many great memories...and sometimes that is all we have left.... so make as many as you can.

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    1. You are so right Renee - especially when there has been great loss. Without those memories and the photos we take it would be even harder.

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  8. Oh my goodness. I love that suggestion to create occasions. I feel like that's something I really do a little bit already and need to do more more more with my 11-year-old

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    1. You are a great one for creating interesting memories for your daughter Carla - you inspire me with the different things you come up with.

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  9. My 2017 happiness project is going to carry on for the rest of my life! How silly to live life any other way. When we are old and grey we want to look back and smile.

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    1. That's so true Michele - I'm finding that I can slip into sadness if I'm not careful and it doesn't do any good. It's so important to keep our happiness at the forefront and to create memories for our dotage :)

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  10. That is a great picture! Making happy memories, setting out to make them is a great idea. I wonder about people who experience moments through recording it on their phone. I am of the camp of being in the moment.

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    1. I've notice how many people do this now days Haralee - the trouble is that it's never as good on film as it is when you're in the moment. A sunset is more beautiful IRL than in a picture. It's finding a balance where we record things but not at the expense of enjoying them at the time isn't it?

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  11. My 81-year-old mother always says, "Oh, that will be a wonderful memory!" I agree-memories are what keep us connected with loved ones and joyous occasions. This is a perfect happiness choice!

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    1. I love what your mum said Melody! I think as we get older we start to appreciate memories more. I wish I'd taken more photos and appreciated all the little things in life more - but we get so busy doing life that we forget to savour the moments and make those memories.

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  12. I could not agree more! I'm all about creating memories. My parents started me on the path and now I'm continuing it for my kids and grandkids. And a happy coincidence? When I'm busy creating memories for them, I do it for me! :)

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    1. All your family stories on your blog are about memories aren't they Diane? The other happy coincidence is that you create stories and happiness for the rest of us too x

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  13. You make such an important point, Leanne. We cannot control all of our memories. But, there are many things that we can do to both create positive memories and to help ensure that we remember them. Thank you for this important reminder!

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    1. You're in the middle of creating amazing memories while you walk that Camino Trail Donna - it is something you'll look back on for decades to come and smile (the sore feet and tired back will take a backseat to all the happy memories)

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  14. I've always been the memory-maker and memory-keeper in our family. I have made many photo books with words for special occasions for my parents and my grandchildren from the time I know they were coming into our lives. I have stopped a lot of this in recent years and since blogging I notice that I am enjoying writing there more and making memories for me. My dad's 90th (early 2014) was the last time I did a BIG memories event with a 20+minute power point and me presenting it. He thought it was wonderful and I have him the print out of the slides as a memory. He is coming up to 94 next year...and please don't think I am crass, but I also have photos of him 'ready for whenever he may be leaving us forever'.(I think he is immortal LOL) A daughter needs to be prepared! A great topic. Thank you for joining in #lifethisweek 31/52 and next week's prompt is "Selfie Time".

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    1. It's lovely that you have left such a legacy for your family Denyse - we all need a memory keeper who loves to take photos and create albums. I did it a lot when the kids were small - until they hated having their photos taken! Now I just store up any photos that come my way and keep them for posterity - and you're right about our blogs becoming another type of memory trove.

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  15. This is perfect timing for me. We're celebrating 24 years of marriage and 26 years of being together. We're getting away from a romantic weekend this Friday. Our actual day is Monday. He says he got me an eclipse this year lol!

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    1. How lovely that you got an eclipse as an anniversary present Rena! The first big one in 99 years from what I've heard - so your husband has gone all out for you :) Happy Anniversary and remember to take a few photos while you're away x

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  16. Oh yes... I need to create more memories most certainly. I tend to fall back on my apathy more often than I would like and I too easily sit within my comfort zone. I usually don't regret it when I make an effort and very much agree with that quote that says it's better to have tried something and stuffed up than regret not doing it.

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    1. My photo taking seems to have fallen by the wayside over the years too Deb but I know how glad I am when I make an effort - just having those memories to look back on is such a great happiness booster. I hope you have the opportunity to make some memories when you figure out your perfect 50th birthday celebration.

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  17. I am so happy to found your LOVELY and EXCELLENT place today Leanne !
    you are wonderful lady with uplifting way of thinking and you write inspirationally .

    Happy birth day to you dear friend and wishing you many more with health and grace ahead,amen.

    Memories are most precious treasure ,without them i will feel hollow.
    thank you for this touching and beautiful read

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    1. Hi Baili and welcome to my blog - I really hope you pop back and visit again because it's lovely to have such a positive reader - I checked out your blog too btw :)

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  18. Thanks for sharing this as a guest blogger at Sue's Blog. Being present in the moment is key for me. And having a photographic record helps a lot too, Wil stumle this. Nancy Andres.

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    1. Hi Nancy - it was lovely to be on Sue's blog - we have very similar world views and are both big on positivity. Thanks for stumbling the post and I hope you come back again for another visit x

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  19. I tend to be a stay at home wallflower, but I, too, have been trying to make more of an effort to creative events that I enjoy and that are fun for me. I realize that those are often the times that we really live, and I want to do more living while I can!

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    1. You could be my kindred spirit Michele! It's so much easier to stay home in the peace and quiet, but when we actually venture out to something that tempts us to leave the home fires, it's where the memories are made isn't it?

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