The other day, I was listening to some music, and rather than listen to Pandora, I decided to flip through some of my MP3 files that I have on a thumb drive. I decided to listen to listen to an album I haven't heard in awhile, Facing Future by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. As soon as I heard the first notes of track 1, it instantly brought back memories to that trip because it was the CD we played in the camper while the kids napped. This always associate it with that ‘first trip.
But as I listened this time, I became nostalgic for that trip.
Which surprised me. A lot.
If you read my post a few months back of our first camping misadventure, you'd know that the first few weeks of having our camper the past season were a bit tumultuous. It wasn't an awful trip but it was stressful. Consider:
- Driving it the first time – Although we purposefully picked a campground less than an hour away, it was the first time I'd driven it for more than a few miles without my father-in-law. It was completely nerve racking.
- The fridge wasn't working – We never realized until we hit the road that the fridge wasn't going to work while traveling. It had worked the entire time we had it in our driveway, getting it ready for the season, but as soon as we unplugged and expected it to switch over to propane, it didn't. Being a short trip, we didn't take the time to troubleshoot, but it was still stressful.
- Backing in – I'd never really backed in before, and although we had a large spot, it was still stressful because we didn't have a clear spot in which to back in that would also allow our camper to be plugged in, so it ended up taking too long and we ended up facing the wrong way anyways (in terms of getting sun at the right tiime)
- That dang fridge again – Once we got there and got plugged in, the fridge still wouldn't stay cold. I kept turning it colder and it wouldn't get colder, making for mushy ice cream.
- Our baby girl – Our daughter turned one year old on the trip. Her first year, including the camping trip, was a struggle. While there were plenty of wonderful moments that first year, there were many bumps along the way. It was always a struggle for her to eat. She didn't sleep that good (5:30 was her usual wake up time and napping never really got into a groove). Plus, she was very shy about strangers, which extended to anybody outside of Mrs. Beagle and I. She often screamed anytime our parents tried to hold her. These struggles were ever present during that first camping trip.
- The campground – Many of the other campgrounds we went to last summer were awesome. Some had great beaches. Some had great sites. Some had great trails for bike riding. This had none of those things. It wasn't an awful campground, it was just…a campground.
While it wasn't an awful trip by any means, many of the memories I have of this summer came from other trips and such. So, when I started to get nostalgic, I actually sat down and thought about why.
Here's what I came up with:
- It was our first time – Everybody remembers their first time, right? While first times of any new experience aren't often fantastic, they are always remembered vividly.
- We did have a lot of things to smile about – The problem with the fridge not staying cold is that I was pushing the temperature to the higher number, which in our camper meant warmer. I was actually making it warmer! Once I realized that, the problem was solved. As I look back on that, it's actually funny.
- The human brain – That goes to the point that time fades bad memories. Many of the things that caused stress and such have already faded away, but the good memories remain. I think the human brain is amazing at doing this, and I've heard it said that this is inherent in us, because the brain didn't push aside painful memories, no woman would ever go through carrying and delivering a child more than once!
- Our baby girl – All of the issues that plagued our baby girl that first year and that first trip started to turn around her first birthday. It's one of those things where you don't really notice the change until you can step back and take a look, but at a certain point later in the summer, when she was happier, friendly toward strangers, on a good schedule, and eating like a champ (she eats better than her older brother now), we realized that the trip was when she turned the corner and she started shedding her ‘baby troubles' skin.
- Everything else got better too – Every drive after that was a little less stressful. Every time backing it was a little easier (mostly). Every cleanup and trip was less stressful than the last, which took away a lot of the lasting negative impressions from that first one. At the time it didn't seem like I would ever get the hang of many of the things, but once I did, it made me realize that all of those troubles were awfully less troublesome than I'd first thought.
Apply this principle to your daily life.
Everybody looks to make lasting memories out of occasions that are easy to pinpoint: Weddings. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Vacations. Many of these things are rightfully planned with the idea to have fun, make memories and create experiences that will last forever.
The thing is that those aren't the only times that memories will get created. You never know what moment will come back and give you longing in your heart to be able to live it again. So, try to live as many moments as you can to their fullest. Don't just plod through your work week, through your day at the job, through the chores around the house without looking around and trying to take in that moment.
Many would discount the idea that you could have a great memory at work, or that you should really try to live life while sweeping out the garage, and I'm not saying that you should be someone that looks to find everlasting happiness in every moment, but what I'm trying to say is don't shut yourself out of the experiences you're part of so that you might miss out on something later.
Readers, have you ever had a memory or an experience come back as a warm memory or nostalgic moment that surprised you as such?