Memory Lane

(In honor of Father's Day, this week's newsletter is a trip down memory lane itself) 

In celebration of Father's Day, my sister, Lisa, had a great idea. At her suggestion, we all piled into a car one afternoon, went to pick up my dad, and took him on a surprise trip down memory lane. We visited the neighborhood where we grew up, saw the home we lived in, and reminisced about our favorite memories - the things we did, the neighbors we spent time with, and even the trouble we got into as kids. It was a wonderful experience and the trip gave me a chance to learn things about my dad and my siblings that I hadn't known before.  

Once we left the neighborhood, we drove around town remembering other childhood landmarks - fields where we played outdoors, candy stores, summer beaches and our friends' homes. Then we had dinner at our favorite family restaurant - The Red Wing - a seafood and pizza restaurant where my mom and dad were able to feed all nine of us for less than $20! Ah, the good old days...

Later in the evening, when I arrived home after our trip, I thought about the old neighborhood and how our perspective shifts over time. The first hill I ever road a bike down, for instance, seemed like a ski slope back then. In reality it's a small, gentle incline. Our family home felt roomy as a little girl even though it was a small three-bedroom ranch where I shared a bedroom with three sisters.  

During our visit, I also found clues to the things that I would feel passionate about later in life.  Hanging out with friends would become a passion for community building. Spending summers at the beach would lead me to find inspiration for my books while writing by the sea. Or, playing outside all day would lead to cultivating a spiritual connection to animals, trees, birds and flowers as an adult woman.  I even remembered planting a vegetable garden when I was eight years old - something I started doing a few years ago when I created a deck garden in our back yard. 

While our past doesn't define our future, it certainly shapes it, and I'm glad I took the time to revisit mine. Yes, we all have pleasant and not so pleasant past experiences, but there's gold to be found in the mining of each one. To see what I mean, why not take a trip down memory lane yourself? This week's challenge will show you how...

Take Action Challenge 

If you live near your old neighborhood, plan a visit. If you don't, you might take a trip down memory lane using old photographs or by having a conversation with family members or friends. Once you have a method in place, consider the following questions: 

  1. What are your most important memories?  
  2. How have they shaped who you've become today?  
  3. What memories reflect those things that are near and dear to your heart now?  
  4. What one favorite pastime needs to be more fully expressed in your adult life now?

I can assure you that something surprising and important is waiting to be discovered in the beauty of your past. You'll find it when take a walk down memory lane.

This week's video is a little trip down memory lane for Jimmy Fallon and friends as they use instruments from their childhood to play a current, hit song. You'll find it here. Thanks Monkinthecity!

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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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