As we get older, we have a tendency to forget things. Our memory just doesn’t function like it used to. Soon, you find yourself wandering your home looking for your car keys or glasses. Worse yet, you walk into a room and forget why you went there in the first place. Alas, it is an unpleasant fact we all have to live with.
Amazingly, even with our sketchy short-term memory, experiences from our past can leave a lasting impression—good and bad. Just as the fortune states, it is not good memory that makes your memories good; it is how you respond to the experience.
I have many memorable moments from my life, some good and some not. The good ones fill you with a warm feeling that makes you smile. My wedding and the birth of my two children are perfect examples of these. The bad ones can sour your mood. You don’t want a repeat of that memory—a fight with a close friend, a punishment by your parents, or a terrible accident. If we are wise, we can use these situations to improve ourselves. These memories can help us change the way we live.
I remember getting my first two-wheel bike and riding it around the neighborhood. I also remember falling on the bike—a lot. One fall resulted in me cutting my leg on the chain guard. I rode right past the hospital to get home, worried that the blood would trickle down onto my sock if I didn’t hurry.
I didn’t feel any pain from the cut because I was so distracted about that sock. I ended up at that very hospital for stitches later, but muscled through the procedure with barely a whimper. The whole time I thought of how I made it home with pristine socks. I didn’t know about pain management at the time, but it was something that I practice from then on.
I also remember the winter of 1977, when Buffalo, NY had a terrible blizzard. Snow resting on the frozen Lake Erie blew in and covered the city and surrounding area. Everything came to a standstill, drifts of snow covered buildings, and homes. It was incredibly inconvenient for everyone. The blizzard trapped my dad at work and we were unable to travel for supplies.
Even with these issues, I enjoyed the blizzard. I was a kid, school was canceled, and I had a winter wonderland of snow to play in. Once the wind calmed, I was in my plastic bag lined snow boots and out in the drifts making frosty forts.
I am not what you would call an optimist. The glass isn’t half full or half empty, it’s simply a half a glass. I am a realist, but I try to make the best of a bad situation. Hey, if it’s going to be memorable, I might as well make it a good one.
A great, and tasty, example of this is the history of the pot sticker. According to the legend, a chef from the Song Dynasty (960 – 1280 A.D.) was boiling dumplings when he forgot about them. All the water boiled off and they burned to the bottom of the wok. He didn’t have time to make more and didn’t want to disappoint his master.
Not knowing what to do, he pried the dumplings from the wok and served them. Luckily, his master and guests loved the contrast of tender dumpling, crispy bottom, and rich filling. Thus the pot sticker was born. Yum!
Happy memories can make you happy, but the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Sometimes life can bring challenges and stuff happens. When it does, you have two options. You can hang your head and pout or you have some fun with it. I suggest the latter. Make it great and make it memorable.