“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue with others.” — Rosa Parks
We often forget that the memories and stories that make up our lives are not only important to ourselves, but also to those people who have shared them with us. So here are a few ingenious ways to preserve our own life memories so that our loved ones can join us on our journey, from any point in time.
We’re in the midst of the time of year that, for many people around the world, is full of memories. Good, bad, sad, joyful, comforting, and heartwrenching—they’re packed with a whole slew of emotion.
It’s the unfortunate twist to the holidays, isn’t it? So much can happen to us in a year. The people who made them great in your childhood may not still be with us today, or maybe, someone new has joined the crew. Either way, this time a year is a catalyst for us to look around at the people we’re with and note how they’ve impacted our lives.
So this article isn’t about the holidays. It’s about your own life, every day of the year; the people you share it with, and how we’re shaping the memories we have to give us what we’d like at each point in our lives.
Colin Levy is a talented illustrator and independent filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. He created the beautiful piece below after his grandfather, Byron Levy, passed away and left the family with stacks upon stacks of journals and drawings depicting his life.
What’s even more beautiful, though, is that we’re able to see at how Colin has been able to connect with his father, Ron, over the memories from a family member who is no longer with them.
Wonderful, isn’t it? You can see more of Colin Levy’s work by visiting his website, colinlevy.com.!
There are so many ways of chronicling our lives that don’t involve stopping what we’re doing to take that perfect photo.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking photos. But one of the best parts of what Byron did was depict each memory in his own way; how he experienced it. That’s just something that’s missing from your standard photograph. Life isn’t still. There are so many thoughts and emotions missing in a moment captured by the snap of a shutter.
But, alas, we are not all talented artists like Byron. Sometimes the photos are all we have. So why not write yourself a little note beside it? How were you feeling? Who are you with? What inspired this event to take place? What happened afterward? And before?
I guess when you think about it… isn’t that what makes social media so wonderful?
Now, what about some postcards?
These mailable rectangles can help preserve our memories in more ways than one. The entire postcard can be a reflection on the place that you’re visiting. It captures a bit of the essence; its culture. Last month, I picked one up from Joshua Tree, California that was made from wood with a beautiful line drawing of a rabbit on the front. This pretty much summed up how I felt about the desert town—tough, durable, simple yet striking. Now, whenever I pull this card out of my dresser drawer, I’m reminded of my time there in a way that isn’t quite translated in the photos tucked away in my phone.
Postcards can also give you a moment to stop and reflect on your time wherever you may be. If you decide not to keep the postcard for yourself but send it off with a note to a loved one, you have to sit down and sum up your experience. What do you want to share with them? You only have a small space to write, so your decision of what will fill that space will help encapsulate those moments in your mind.
To really dive into the effect postcards have on our memories, we turn to one of my all-time favorite podcasts, Ologies. Alie Ward, the host of this wonderful piece of media (which I’ve gushed about pretty extensively over on our Patreon) sat down with a person who has curated postcard collections for the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan for 40 years: Donna Braden.
They chat about the rise of the postcard, what they can illuminate about our lives, and how they can uncover memories and details from parts of your life that have been deeply filed away in your mind.
*There may be a few swears here and there.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of Ologies, subscribe on your favorite podcast app or visit the website, alieward.com/ologies. Every episode is listed there, with photos of the ologists and useful links!
One of the coolest parts about Ologies (aside from the great content) is that it’s completely funded by listeners through Patreon (which means no advertisements). I’ve recently become a Patron myself because for $1 a month I can support the show I love and ask ologists my own questions! You can also keep up with the show through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if those platforms are more your speed.
A lot can happen in a year, and you’ll probably forget most of it.
Everything can get lost and jumbled inside of our minds; easily blurred by the passage of time.
So with this inspiration, I urge you to look back on your last 365 days and remind yourself what happened. What did you go through? Any life changes? Any events? What made you smile? Cry?
These memories are for you today, you in 10 years, and the people you welcome into your life.
Of course, I’m not going to ask you to do this and not do it myself. Head over to our Patreon to see my approach on looking back and chronicling my life this past year! It’s only $3 a month to join the EWC Patreon community and see this exclusive content.
I’m not just talking about remembering all of the good events that have taken place this year. Let yourself remember all of the ugly, bad, and heart-wrenching times too. They’ve made you stronger; they’ve even made those great times better.
There’s so much power in this exercise because when you’re in those hard times, it’s always difficult to remember that the tides will change and good will happen again. But if all of the wonders in your life are listed right next to the awful, well, that reminder is clear.
So if you’d like to move forward into 2019 with this mindset…
… The app 1 Second Everyday can help you capture your year! It’s pretty handy. By recording one second of video from every day of the year, you’re combatting the blur of everyday life, and you’re left with a continuous video to walk down memory lane.
“We tend to take our cameras out when we’re doing awesome things … But we rarely do that when we’re having a bad day and something horrible is happening. And I found that it’s actually been very, very important to record even just one second of a really bad moment. It really helps you appreciate the good times.” — Cesar Kuriyama
You can learn more about 1 Second Everyday by visiting their website! And to find more information on Cesar Kuriyama himself, head on over to cesarkuriyama.com or give him a follow on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Cesar also gave a wonderful interview with The New York Times that made me really think about what recording one second of video a day can bring to our lives. Here’s a small excerpt:
Mr. Kuriyama said the app, which has attracted more than 900,000 users since launching in 2013, has made him more mindful of the most meaningful thing to happen to him on a given day, even the mundane ones. Writing a daily diary seemed cumbersome to him, but a short video each day felt possible.
“I can’t not have enough time to record a moment of video per day, and make that kind of a visual trigger to remember that day by,” Mr. Kuriyama said. 4
Since this interview in 2016, the number of people who have used the app to track their year has reached over 3 million! And it’s now FREE for the first time, so head over to your app store and download it as well. (I have!)
In the end, all we are is a collection of memories. So how do you want to shape yours?
Stay open to new possibilities!
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”—Albert Einstein
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- “My Grandfather’s Memory Book.” Vimeo, Colin Levy, 10 Oct. 2018, vimeo.com/294401577. Accessed 28 Nov. 2018. ↩
- “Deltiology (POSTCARDS) with Donna Braden.” ART19, Ologies, 19 June 2018, art19.com/shows/ologies-fb/episodes/b05405c3-5e94-49c2-94e2-f865a1993f09. Accessed 17 Dec. 2018. ↩
- Kuriyama, Cesar. “One Second Every Day.” TED, TED, 2012, www.ted.com/talks/cesar_kuriyama_one_second_every_day?language=en. Accessed 17 Dec. 2018. ↩
- Victor, Daniel. “Why I Recorded a One-Second Video (Almost) Every Day in 2015.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Jan. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/01/01/fashion/why-i-recorded-a-one-second-video-almost-every-day-in-2015.html. Accessed 20 Dec. 2018. ↩