Written by: Joe Fiduccia
Have you ever heard the phrase “a moment lasts a second, but a memory lasts forever.”
When we go through certain events and experiences in our lives (both good and bad), have you ever mumbled the words “I’ll never forget this as long as I live?”
But what happens shortly after? Where do you find yourself just days or even minutes after making that statement?
If you are like most of us, you have already forgotten much of it.
The reality of life has proven that despite what we may think, our life story will not last forever. As time goes on, the very experiences that helped shape our lives will slowly fade away. As newer generations are born, the lives of those before them are lost.
And only if we are lucky enough, we might perhaps get an honorable mention in a family photo album that has been passed down through the generations.
If there is one thing our ancestors have shown, it’s that everything we have been through will ultimately be forgotten. Because how many times have you thumbed through an old photo album with a blank stare, wondering who those faces were and curious about how they lived their lives?
If history hasn’t been clear enough already, here the facts: when we close our eyes for the last time, our story will be buried along with us. The legacy that we have worked so hard to achieve will likely mean nothing to your great, great grandchildren.
For many, the reality that our journey leads the same inevitable outcome hits us very hard. We suddenly start remembering all the stories in life that got us to this point, and can’t help but say to ourselves: “there is no way I went through all of this just to be forgotten!”
For example, think about your early childhood for a moment. What do you remember most about school? An inspiring teacher? Receiving a notable award? Making new friends who then became bullies?
Now think about your later teens. What did you want to do with your life back then? What were your favorites hobbies or your favorite subjects in school? And how did those interests change as you grew older?
When you began dating, what was it like to fall in love? And now that you are much older, has your definition of love changed over time?
And let’s not forget about our first job! What was is like? Were you nervous? Exciting? Scared? All of the above? Are there moments in your career history that were especially difficult, or times when you wish you could do it all over again?
And let’s conclude with the skeletons in your closet. What are the secrets in your life that you continue to keep bottled up? What are the things you don’t feel comfortable sharing or talking about? What are the experiences in your life story that will essentially die along with you?
When you really think about it, we have endured much more than we anticipated in our short time here. And every day that we continue to wake up is a chance for new beginnings, and a chance to experience the best that life can offer.
You may be the type to sieze the day and live it up. Or you might be the top to end your days the same way you start them: with a shot of booze or a handful of pills.
But regardless of how you choose to live, all of your experiences and everything that made you who you are today becomes nothing more than a single chapter in the story book of your family’s history.
So yes – get out there and live life. But don’t forget to memorialize those special moments for the future. Because only you can control how history will remember your story.
When your great, great grandchildren began researching their ancestors, what will that discover about you? Will you become another random face in a photograph? Will they find some old bills or papers with your name on it?
Or will they uncover a storybook with your name on the front, giving them more than just a small glimpse into the legacy you chose to leave behind for them?