The Orange Slate

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Photography

The “Why” of Memory-Keeping

October 15, 2014

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Taking photos, journaling, blogging, methods like Project Life, – anything that helps to record precious memories is a form of memory-keeping.

But sometimes it’s important to step back and remember the “why” of memory-keeping. Especially when I don’t have time to do a lot of elaborate memory-keeping, when I only have time to actually take photos but none to edit, organize, or journal, reminding myself why memory-keeping is important for continual motivation.

Two quick caveats:

1. Sometimes memory-keeping seems to fall into the category of “things Moms do to keep busy” category. I firmly believe that memory-keeping is important for everybody. Memory-keeping might look different if you are single or don’t have children or if you are a young guy, but everyone should record their memories in a way that is meaningful.

I’ve recorded memories for as long as I can remember, but my process has changed countless times over the years. Journals, simple photo albums, blogging, notes on my computer, elaborate scrapbooks, albums printed by services like Snapfish, and systems such as Project Life have all played a role in my memory-keeping.

2. Memory-keeping looks different for everyone. For some, memory-keeping involves a simple journal. For others, it is associated with elaborately designed photo albums. For others, it’s blogging. For some, it’s a process like quilting or art journaling. Maybe it simply means taking photos and storing them digitally. Or maybe your memory-keeping involves videos or recordings.

Our “why”- our motivations – defines our process, our goals, and our markers of success. It’s difficult to stay motivated in any area – relationships, careers, or hobbies- without a defined “why”. (More on that later).

So here is a list of seven reasons for my memory-keeping, part of my “why”.

1. Memories are defining. What I’ve done, who I’ve known, and where I’ve been have helped shape me.

2. So protecting memories from disappearing is worthwhile. The things I’ve done and the paths we’ve walked as a family are meaningful, so recording those memories and protecting them from disappearing is a worthy goal.

3. Memories are motivating. Seeing where my family and I have been helps encourage me to continue working towards where we are going. Remembering struggles overcome and good memories made helps encourage me (and them!) to continue pressing on.

4. Memories bring joy. A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and ordered about 300 prints of digital memories. Mark and I had fun browsing through the pictures. Seeing Mark become excited over memories that I’d recorded reminded me that memory-keeping is something that can be so simple but is something that can bring immense joy.

5. Memory-keeping helps me prioritize and make choices. As I make choices about how to spend time, knowing that I’m recording memories for our family helps me prioritize well. When I’m choosing between two options, sometimes I ask myself where/how the best memories will be made. Another way that Mark and I phrase is with the question, “What is the best story?” This method of choosing has hurled us into all sorts of ridiculous situations (traveling to Albania at 6 months pregnant, ending up in Italy with nowhere to stay, living with three roommates for the first year of our marriage . . . ), but we rarely regret making a choice that will leave us with a good memory!

6. Memories remind me of lessons I’ve learned. No one wants to repeat mistakes. Journaling and other methods of processing my memories helps embed lessons I’ve learned and keeps me from repeating mistakes, while encouraging me to continue repeating good patterns.

7. Memories remind us of our blessings. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 34:8, which begins, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Memory-keeping is a way for me to remind myself of the blessings God has poured out on me and my loved ones. It’s a method of relishing the good things that have happened and encouragement to look forward to the good things to come.

What is your “why”? I’d love to challenge you to write out 5 or 10 reasons or motivations behind your memory-keeping. Or share in the comments or on Twitter (@emilyamccord).

If this was helpful, check out all of these other posts about photography.

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