When I started thinking about what word or phrase I wanted to focus on this year, I had a really hard time deciding on the perfect one. This year is going to be full of big things for our family! I graduate after almost six years of homework, tuition and night classes. Bensen turns one, and we'll have survived our first year of parenting. Joe and I celebrate five years of marriage, and the list goes on. There were so many different words that I could have chosen that would have been perfect for this year and I almost settled on quite a few. Then the other day, Elyse, from Just Murrayed, mentioned what she and her husband picked for their word last year, and I got really excited because I knew that I'd found the perfect word for 2016!
One of my favorite things to do each day is click on the memories post at the top of my Facebook feed and scroll through everything that I've posted in the past few years. I may not always share the memories on my timeline, but I look at all of them and share them with Joe. I've been reminded of funny moments in our marriage, date nights that we've been on, and milestones in our relationship as well as how far I've come as an individual and all of the things that I've accomplished over the years.
Recently I've been browsing a lot of old blog posts, updating their formatting and fixing links that broke when I switched from Blogger to Squarespace over the holidays. When I started this blog almost five years ago, it was more of a personal journal where I posted the things that were happening in our life for family and friends to see. Because of that, there are a lot of memories that I recorded from early on in our marriage. Some of the things that I wrote about have been big and monumental, like when we paid off all of our debt. Others are little moments, like the time Joe cleaned our vacuum filter and I thought it was a fancy new sponge when I found it sitting next to the sink. I may or may not have used it to clean our dirty dishes and we laughed about it for days.
Over the years, I've slacked off on taking pictures and writing in my journal or recording those moments that I know I'll want to look back on in the future. This year I've decided to build on my word for last year and be more intentional in my effort to make memories and record so that we can look back on them and smile for years to come.
1. Make the Memories
When I was in high school, a word that I was always associated with was "adventure". I wasn't known as being adventurous because I am a thrill seeker or anything like that. I was known as being adventurous because wherever I went, a memory was sure to be made. We named my car The Adventure Mobile and "let's go on an adventure" was one of our most commonly used phrases. This year, I want to bring back the adventure that I used to have in my life and I want one of my most used phrases to become, "let's make a memory together"!
I want to be spontaneous. Nothing makes my heart happier than a well laid out plan, but I know the days that are the most memorable are usually the ones when my plans are thrown out the window and a little spontaneity is involved. One night last month, Bensen was supposed to be in bed and I had big plans to get a project done in my house but instead, the entire family was out playing in the freshly fallen snow. Nothing had gone according to plan that day and both Joe and I were tired and grumpy, but I will always remember Bensen's first experience with snow and everything that we laughed about that night. Similarly, this past weekend I had big plans to stay in my grungy clothes and clean all day but Joe suggested that we smoke ribs. By the end of the day, I'd cleaned the kitchen twice, there were dirty dishes still left in the sink and the rest of the house was still a disaster. We'd hosted people for dinner on a whim, and we were exhausted. But as I sat snuggled next to my husband on the couch, I couldn't help but think about what a great day it had been! These are the types of memories that I want to make.
2. Record the Memories
At one point in time, I wrote in my journal every single day and I took pictures of everything. These days, we always hear things like, "stop viewing everything through your phone and be in the moment". While I agree that it's important to be present and enjoy the moment, I also think that you will regret not recording some of the memories that are being made. The problem comes when you capture the memory and immediately spend time sharing it to social media. By all means, share your funny moments with Facebook or post your picture to Instagram so that it ends up in your Chatbook, but you can do that later, long after that moment has passed.
I want to take more pictures with me in them. While I was organizing my hard drive full of pictures this past month, I noticed that the majority of the images that we've captured over the last couple of years have been of Howie or Bensen. There are a few with Joe and I in them, but not as many as I would like. I want to take more pictures of the moments that I share with Bensen and I want to take more pictures when Joe and I are on dates or spending time together. We didn't take any pictures of our family together on Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, and I kind of regret it.
I want to write in my journal daily. This blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all records of my life in their own way, but it isn't the same as my journal. My journal is where I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in the early stages of mine and Joe's relationship. It's where I can find the little details of Bensen's birth that I didn't share here on the blog. Some days, it might not seem like I have much to write about, but even some of the mundane, boring things in my life are fun to look back on or contain a lesson that I don't recognize until later on down the road.
3. Look Back on the Memories
One of the reasons that Facebook's memory feature has quickly become my favorite is because it gives me a reason to reminisce. I create scrapbooks of each year of our marriage, we have a wedding DVD and there are little home videos stored on my computer. But our DVD is tucked away with the rest of our wedding stuff and our scrapbooks sit on an end table as decoration. They are all easy enough to access, but we never look at them.
I want to create traditions surrounding our memories. A new series that I am going to be starting on the blog this year revolves around traditions and their importance in your marriage. Some of those posts might focus on this goal and how I'm starting new traditions or continuing old ones that encourage us to think and talk about the things we've experienced as a couple. A lot of people watch their wedding video as part of their anniversary celebration every year. I try to get a book put together filled with pictures and memories from the previous year and have it printed within a month of our anniversary. This year I want to start some traditions based on the things we did leading up to Bensen's birth. I also want to finally do something official to celebrate the time that we met and fell in love.
Dwelling on the past isn't something that I like to do, but I think reminiscing can have its benefits. Looking back on your life and your relationship can help you see how far you've come. You may see things that you are doing really well now that you may have struggled with in the past. You may also notice things that you were great at then and could be doing better now. The past can inspire you to improve in different areas. We can learn a lot from our past.
2016 promises big things for me, my marriage and our family. I'm even more excited for what's in store knowing that "memories" is my word for the year. We are going to make a lot of memories that I know we will look back on fondly for years to come. Memories are one of the only things we can take with us wherever we go and I want to have lots of good ones to carry with me for the rest of forever!
Have you picked a word of the year?