I have always been drawn to creating meaningful events for ordinary occasions. What I mean is finding ways to make an event memorable by going the extra mile whether it is a Birthday for my Mother, a pre-Christmas family dinner, or our annual Chinese New Year. Any occasion will do as cause to celebrate.
This tendency, learned at my Mother’s knee, became even more important post cancer. Perhaps it is influenced by the certainty of my demise cozied right up to the uncertainty of when. No if’s involved. This knowledge leads me always to the realm of memory making and meaning – what is something that I can do for my loved ones and/or myself that will mean something and we will recall years later.
In conversation with others who have confronted life threatening and/or chronic illness I have found a common thread: a desire to create memories to leave behind. This has nothing to do with the legacy of achievement, rather, it goes beyond wealth and accomplishment in the public domain. While not excluding those important things, this is on a more personal scale.
This past weekend I had one such event. When my Grandson Rowan turned eight in May, in lieu of Lego, I presented him with a map that outlined a bike route we would take to a nearby town where we would stay overnight and cycle back the next day. His first bike trip.
I will never forget this trip. I am quite sure that Rowan will not forget it either. There is magic in an event like this where we stretch ourselves physically and mentally; encounter obstacles; solve them; see new sights; shoot video and photos; laugh at ourselves; meet new people; hear new sounds; experience our tenacity and grit and at the end of the day feel tired, proud and happy. An eight year old and an almost 72 year old. How could it get any better…and then it did – the late evening swim after the sun went down and the stars were turning on.
There are so many ways to create meaningful memories. They often involve a certain amount of personal risk – will the adventure be a welcome one; do my kids really want to spend 90 minutes learning the ukulele (the post uke sushi and prosecco helped) will they be the least bit interested in the treasured compilation of poems and so on. But even if something doesn’t work according to plan, well, we all get to improvise. And the events become fodder for family lore.
We all, at our core, are bold and brave and have something original to contribute. Why not do so while we have the chance? What are we waiting for? Why not splurge on life with each other while we have the opportunity? Carpe Diem, is more than a saying. It is a way to live with outstretched arms, and when we do that love easily triumphs over fear.
Note 1: It just occurred to me that creating this website and writing these blog posts are part of my risk taking and meaning making, although a little wider than my familial and friends circle. I will really never know if what goes on here is useful for someone, although that is my hope. I do know that it is helpful for me to show up and write. And I thank you, dear reader, for showing up on this page to read. Enjoy these summer days. Until next week, Trudy