Self Development,  Single Life Blog

Unboxing Memories

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A guide for preserving special moments in life

“Sometimes you will never know

the value of a moment

until it becomes a memory.”

Dr. Seuss

Hey there lovelies!
Welcome to my second post, about boxes of my memories, their content and some of the thoughts and feelings they stirred up. Somewhere along the writing, this also became a guide of sorts… To how to commemorate journeys, trips and travels.

Over the years we’ve all received and collected different memento’s, from different people and moments we’ve lived and loved. I’ve recently dug out some boxes from deep in my cupboard, and under my bed. They are filled with notebooks, letters and notes, photos, drawings and little trinkets. I would like to share with you now, the process and experience of going through it all. The rush of emotions and memories that came along with it. You can’t truly be present from behind the lens of a camera, you can’t capture a moment on film. And you can’t create a memory on a hard drive or any kind of device.

If you’re too busy searching for the right light, the perfect frame and best angle, you’ll miss out on everything going on around you. I do it too, we all sin sometimes. I also think it’s great to take a photo or two to look back onto, to help you remember. But if you’re constantly snapping photo after photo, you’re missing out on actually living the moment. I found that when I’m truly having fun, and enjoying myself. Especially on trips, I even forget about my phone, my camera and any social media. Because I’m too busy having a great time, enjoying the company of the people I’m with and creating memories.

You have to live these moments, be in them, fully and wholly. And with the people around, then draw or write about it later. Find other ways to remember it by. I truly believe that the best way to commemorate and treasure experiences and occasions, is by saving something that will remind you of it later. A souvenir, letters, doodles, notes and etc. 


1. Plane letters
plane letters
My Plane Letters

These days, when you board a plane to fly across the globe, there are so many options to keep yourself entertained. From games on your smartphone, to downloaded episodes and movies on Netflix. The limit is literally endless, making the flight time feel not so endless. I grew up in a time before smartphones (which kinda makes me sound like a dinosaur). Where you had to interact and be creative to pass the time and to not get bored.

One of my favorite things from that time, which I’ve recovered now from my boxes, are the plane letters. I’m not sure if it’s still a thing, probably not, but when I was younger my favorite thing to pass the flight time was by reading plane letters – Written by friends and family, usually at my request.  Looking back on it now, I think that the letters were so much more than just passing the time. They were a way for me to feel loved and missed.

It’s not the most popular thing, to have to ask for them, but nonetheless, they always managed to make me feel a little bit popular. And like there are people out there who actually care about me, enough to write the letters. And if it’s a really good friend, they might even add Sudoku’s, crossword puzzles and other games. But above all, it’s just damn fun.

It’s great to sit on the plane and read the words written to you… And I really think that it’s one of the biggest shames. The fact that it’s no longer a thing. So here’s to the hope that we can bring it back! My challenge to you, is when this crazy pandemic is over and you can fly again. Ask some friends and family members to write you plane letters.

It may feel and seem silly and awkward, but I promise you. It will be a wonderful experience on the flight. And they’re also great to read when you miss your people back home. Not to mention, that when you go back and read them years later. It will be so damn nostalgic and epic.


2. Personal notes

Over the years I’ve participated in different programs… Some of them as a pupil or student, traveling away from home with a group of new people, developing, growing and learning. Other’s as an instructor or a counselor, where I am the “adult supervision”… Helping young minds shape and grow into great potential. Guiding my pupil’s in their journey of self discovery, maturing and development.

I have so many photos from those times and programs. But when I look back on those experiences today, the photos are not the best reminders of the path I took. Or the impact they’ve had on my life and the directions it steered in. The greatest treasure I have saved are the letters and notes I’ve received over the years… From the other participants on the programs, or from my pupils.

First off, I think they were a great reflection of the progress I made in my own journey, how far I’ve come. Many times in life, it’s hard to see the changes in ourselves. So it’s important to have that feedback and encouragement. The words of other peers, colleagues, friends and pupils, that provide us with insight, recognition and personal impressions. It’s also a form of validation that helps us to know where and what we did good, and then guides and steers us in the right direction.

Secondly, as humans, I think it is natural and even fundamental, to feel like we’ve made a lasting impression and impact. We all want to be significant. And these letters are proof that you’ve succeeded in making someone feel like your presence in their life has helped them and made a difference. I know that when I received these notes and letters. It made all the difficult times, roadblocks and challenges worth it.

It was the greatest gift I could have ever gotten. A written confession of the effect I had, of how much I meant to them. How important I was in their journey. Those letters are a reminder of a shaping and significant time in my life, turning points and learning curves. Opening them up now, reading those words, it gives me motivation to keep going and search for that feeling again. It makes me want to fight my way through all of the obstacles, despite the pain and difficulty. Because it is evidence that I have done it before and can do it again… That the battle is worth fighting, for even just an ounce of that feeling. 


3. Photos
childhood photos - old photos - developed photos

There are 5,698 pictures currently on my phone, and that is only going back about four years. Every so often I like scrolling through them. They’re a great reminder of some of the best times and people in my life. But when I went through my boxes and found actual printed photos that were taken by actual old school cameras. The experience was so much more intense and nostalgic. These days, one of the easiest things is to snap a photo. We all have dozens, thousands of them on our phones… Which means we literally have them in our pockets the whole time.

Any small change or occasion can get snapped and saved within seconds. But at some point it loses its value or significance. Not to mention, it just gets exhausting! If not for you, then for the people with you. When I was travelling in Laos, we went on a few treks with some other people. And some of the girls would stop every five meters to take dozens of pictures. It was ridiculous and time consuming. Time that could be spent enjoying the incredible trail we were in, and interacting with each other.

Once upon a time, it used to be a whole long process of buying a camera and limited amount of film. Where every photo taken is carefully calculated, because you only have a certain amount to take. It’s not endless, and you choose one frame to take from each moment, not ten. Which only makes it more special and memorable, because you have to choose very carefully when to use your limited amount of film (or later on when digital cameras were invented – memory card space). I kinda feel bad for kids these days, because their childhood is documented to no ends. Which is great in a way, but also a shame.

We’re too busy documenting every tiny moment in their lives. That we sometimes miss out on actually living in it with them. Not to mention that they learn to also be obsessed with phones and taking pictures, but that’s a whole different topic. So here’s another challenge for you, next time you go on a trip or travel to a different country. Buy a disposable camera with film, or one of those cool, retro Polaroid cameras. Then try to use only that camera to take photos during the trip. Then when you’re back home. Develop those pictures and share them with your friends, and save them for a later time to reminisce over.


4. Notebooks
my notebooks

One of my favorite ways to commemorate a journey or trip, is by using a notebook to write down the different activities, stories. Special moments and experiences I go through. When you look back on different times of your life, of your travels and trips. The best way, in my opinion, to remember them is by – is writing down what you did on each day, how you felt and who you met. Special moments, funny stories, great food you ate and memorable situations. I also love to collect quotes, funny phrases, riddles and proverbs.

You can write about the different places and people you meet, either poems or stories or just feelings. Sometimes I write down random thoughts and ideas triggered by views, encounters and occurrences. In every place I visit I also like to take a cooking class or two. So I use these notebooks to write down the recipe’s… Which also become a great reminder later on, especially when I use it once I get back home.

And what I cannot express by words, I express by drawing, sketching and painting – the views. The people or the cities structures and skylines. This allows me to really focus on the details of the place I’m at… Really look and see where I am and what’s around me. The colours and  the lines, the little hidden alleys and caves.

All of which you wouldn’t normally notice. When I look at a photo taken on a trip, I won’t necessarily remember how I felt when it was taken, or what happened right before or after. But when I have a “travel journal” with me, or a sketch book. I can see and read exactly how I felt, I can really remember and get sucked back into the different moments I experienced.


Taking pictures isn’t a bad thing, I do it too when I’m travelling or having a special moment or experience. But I just think we can moderate it, and instead of living our lives through them. We can try to take them as an addition to different commemorating tools. I think that we should try to be less obsessed about what we look like in the photo. Or if we’ve photographed every angle of the view, and just enjoy the moment while it lasts.

“Life becomes more meaningful

when you realise the simple fact

that you’ll never get

the same moment twice.”

*** in loving memory of my friend,
Ezra Weidenfeld * 29.05.92 – 28.04.09
Who was taken from this world way too early and young.
You were special and unique, and you will forever be missed.  ***  

wishing you all the best,                                
Michal B.L

p.s
check out my Instagram account for more photos of my memory boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
***
in loving memory of my friend,
Ezra Weidenfeld * 29.05.92 – 28.04.09
Who was taken from this world way too early and young.
You were special and unique, and you will forever be missed. 
***
 
wishing you all the best, 
                                Michal B.L

p.s
check out my Instagram account for more photos of my memory boxes.
 

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