Remembering more

Taking just an hour to think - what happened last month?

Memories get lost if you don’t try to keep them

For our first 8 years together, Ruskin and I didn’t take many photos. Nor did we keep a diary, or try to capture memories in any way. Suddenly all that time just feels like a brief emotion, one or two images I recall - a fleeting moment.

With a bit of determination there are many memories and moments in my head somewhere, although I’m sure some of the details have disappeared - our first summer getting to know each other in London, our first ski trip together in Val Thorens, our first jobs in Geneva…

Taking stock of our current way of remembering things (not doing anything), it was clear we should try something else! Ruskin put it like this: what if we had had kids, and now they were 8, we might have forgotten the details of them growing up! So the plan was simple: make a plan; and change our habits now.

Our original way of remembering things

Capturing memories through monthly reflection

Our way to remember things is a monthly reflection. At the start of each month we take an hour to write down stuff that happened last month - career stuff in and out of work, what we did together, family updates, local news, and finally what we want to start stop & continue next month. For now the solution is fairly clunky, just a new Drive word doc each month with a few sections ready to fill in, and a couple of google photo collages thrown in.

Our simple journal template in Drive:Journal template

Reflection gives serenity

At the end of a reflection I find that I feel serene, content that I’ve taken stock of the last life chunk and captured important memories. Taking just an hour to think - what happened last month? How can I summarise that in a subtitle, hence what is the key feeling/lesson/achievement from the month?

Sometimes I sit down and think, oh I’ve not done much recently. And then an hour later I’m exhausted and amazed after typing fiercely and finding it hard to choose from so many amazing photos. One of the best bits is simply looking through photos from our phone and making a collage of key moments - and funnily this encourages us to take more photos, ready for our reflection.

Our new way of remembering things

Looking to the future and staying focused

Our reflection has had some big added benefits - more than just capturing memories. It provides a meta moment: to check you’re focusing on the right things, and maybe nudge your course. For example, I realised I was feeling very anxious at work, and decided to work on practising mindfulness. It encourages communication as a couple: sometimes we realise things we might not have taken the time to reflect on before. For example, we decided we wanted to build stuff together and created our own hack nights.

What do you think? How do you capture memories as they fly by? Feel free to leave a comment.