I typically ask my husband how his day went when he comes home from work and the other day he said, “Well, we got inventory done.” It took me by surprise that the last day of the month already was upon us and in this case, it also was the last day of the year and decade. (I start counting with zero.)
The thought was a triple slap in the face. It’s the end, or more to the point, a completion, of a month, of a year and a decade, and what have I done? Where did the time go? Oh my gosh, I have a hard time remembering what I did in November, much less 2011. But if I had an inventory record, I would be able to see in a flash the highlights of the months and years. For my family, 2019 will definitely go down as the year we bought a mountain log-cabin. But there have been many, many important experiences along the way that I am sure I would have to think hard to remember.
I don’t think it’s that our memories get poor as we get old, but rather that they get overloaded with the sheer volume of memories over a lifetime, like a computer that’s out of RAM. That maybe a little supercilious of me, but I think it’s true. Have you noticed how the year – summer – used to stretch on and on forever when you were 5- or 6-years old but now it zips by before you know it? Have you noticed that it seems to take forever to travel to somewhere, but half the time to return home? The are-we-there-yet syndrome only seems to apply when you’re going to grandma and grandpa’s house, not when you’re coming home. I think this is our brain adapting. It’s new going to; been-there-done-that going home. While every event in our lives is new and unique, I think our brain starts to skip over somethings that we’ve done over and over -walk the dog, try a new recipe, have coffee with a friend. Each day we do the same things, but each day is new and unique.
The other evening I took Titan, our Collie/Husky 3-year-old dog, for a walk and we saw animal tracks in the new snow. Tracks! In our neighborhood and around our mailbox! We followed them all around the block. They are cottontail tracks and they make walking Titan a bit more interesting. Will I remember this in five years? In 10? I suspect (hope) our immediate and extend family will have some big, big moments in the next 10 years – marriages and babies – and I don’t know how tracks in the snow are going to stay in the memory cells.
So, I’ve decided to keep a personal inventory. A written inventory will be like putting it the experience of seeing tracks in the snow on a memory stick or flash drive. I try to keep a date planner (love to buy them!) and keeping a journal should be right up my ally, but I can’t seem to stay consistent with it after the first couple weeks or months. I’m hoping to have better luck with an inventory. This isn’t an original idea. Benjamin Franklin advocated taking 15 minutes of reflection time a day to review what happened the day past and set goals for the day forth coming. I’ve done that – for a year (it was a part of my employment expectations) – and it seemed like I was in the past or in the future, but rarely in the moment. I hope by stretching it out to a month that there will be more time to enjoy life, as well as review and plan it.
I hope you rang in the New Year with joy and happiness and that it stays with you throughout the coming days and months.
Enjoy the read,