Monday, September 06, 2010

More smiling today - making memories

As I drove across Iowa today, I was thinking about my blog post from yesterday and how fun it was to reflect on the day according to the smiles I'd had.

I read a book last year on our brains - actually I read several, so I'm not going to be identify quickly which one this idea came from, but the author was discussing why it seems as.if our childhood goes slowly and then when we reach adulthood, time seems to speed up and each years rushes by faster than the year before.  One of the reasons given was memory.  As a child, we have very few memories, so each new experience is creating a new memory point in our brains.  This causes time to slow down because we process for such a long time on those experiences.  As an adult, our experiences tend to create a foundation for each new experience - we base our recall not on something that is brand new, but something that adds to an existing memory.  Since we aren't creating many, many new memories, our brain doesn't take as long to formulate them and time 'seems' to go faster.

How do we slow things down so that we enjoy them as an adult just half as much as we enjoyed experiences as a child?  Well, I am just wondering about journaling and the process that occurs as we write down our memories each day.  I'm terrible at journaling, except for this blog, I don't do much.  I keep a written calendar that I can look back on, but my thoughts and impressions aren't kept in there, it's just a list of things that happen on a specific date.  I suppose that I hope some memories will be triggered by the activity, but trust me, when I look back at my calendars from ten years ago, there are a lot of things that it says I did that I have absolutely no memory of - at all!

Every once in awhile, I would take the time to write things down and when I look back on those, the extended bits of information trigger a few more memories, but even still, some things seem like they surely must have happened to someone else.

I don't know how to trap my memories and slow things down ... I can only try.  But, the good news about that study they were doing on memories is that the older you get, the more new experiences you begin having again as you leave the standard workforce and face life without raising children and the standard things you are used to having around you.  Time slows down again.  We'll see ... right?

Before I stop tonight, though, I had a few things that made me smile from ear to ear today. 

Driving east on I-80, I was following a car as we passed a semi.  The license plate read "Granma2" and there were three small children in the back seat.  As they passed in front of the cab of the semi, all three were pumping their arms asking the driver to blow his horn.  He did!  And waved like crazy at those kids.  They waved back, just filled with joy that they had gotten some attention from a truck driver.  The thing is - they probably made his day as much as he did theirs and I'll tell you what, I was just grinning as I went around him - they all made my day!

I got to Des Moines and had lunch with my cousin, Cathy.  Her father died last week.  He would have been 94 years old this December.  She's spent the last 6 months with him.  They put him in hospice last March/April and figured that he had 2 months to live.  Well, he fooled them and stuck around for a very long time.  The man was a rock.  He was an Iowa farmer that lived well, loved his family, worked hard every day that he could, worshiped God with all his heart and when he lost his wife 22 years ago, spent the rest of the time loving his kids and grandkids.  I smiled as she told me about his last days and the impact that his life had on the hospice workers and on his family. 

I pulled into the cabin and drove past our meadow which had been mowed and trimmed by Carol this last weekend.  She also worked hard in the porch, cleaning and sweeping.  I smiled when I drove in because this place is simply gorgeous.  She had worked hard to make it even more beautiful ... what a glorious sight!

This evening my friends up here dropped off 15-20 pounds of potatoes and 10 pounds of carrots from their garden.  There is nothing I love more than fresh produce like that.  I smiled when he left because he has no idea the glorious gift that was.

I have so much to smile about ... so much to be grateful for!

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