So often, we come to the end of another year and think, “Where did the time go?” Yes, it seems like time just whooshes by these days. We have so many activities and so many distractions.
I remember last year when my daughter and I were talking about ending another year. She said, “I’m still having a hard time that we’re in 2016! In fact, it’s still pretty stunning that the 1990’s were sixteen ago!”
I used to feel that way, too. And I still do a little. But everything changed for me 11 years ago when I started an annual tradition with myself. Now I like looking back on the year coming to an end and especially savor the New Year.
Here’s what I do . . .
During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day I write a list that is titled, “Wow! Look What I Did in 2015 (or whatever year is ending)!” And then I begin logging at least 100 memories! Some of the memories are big and stand out. Others are smaller events or recollections, such as a nice phone conversation with a family member or a chance meeting with a friend.
Yes, 100 memories seems like a lot. But when you set yourself up for that many, you’re called to go deep and really dig down into your banks and pull up little experiences that could otherwise not be recalled.
I make my list on my computer’s word processor and sometimes add little photos or images to make it fun. The list is just for me, and so I play around and make it creative. And then I save the list in my computer and also print the pages.
Now here is the really fun part. I’ve been doing this since 2005. I have the lists of memories, big and small, for all those years. I get to revisit those experiences and in a small way relive them. That’s one of the blessings of our memories.
Not all the memories are warm and fuzzy. Last year I listed the unexpected deaths of two family members. And a tough conversation I had with a very close friend, during which I cried most of the time. But the majority of the memories are of joy-filled or growing experiences. They might even be spiritual breakthroughs I encountered or big lessons the Lord taught me during my quiet times. Big. Small. Life-changing. Simple. All go on the list!
I encourage you to join me and make this your own annual tradition. Take this week to make your list. Start remembering and writing. Then as the days and week passes, more memories will come to the surface. Add them to the list. Have fun. Receive the blessing that memories hold. And then get excited when you can say for yourself, “Wow! Look what I did in 2016.”
By the way, the “tough conversation” I had with my dear friend started out very trying and hurtful, hence the tears. Then our exchange turned into a really positive experience that strengthened the bonds we share. So it will be a sweet memory, also.