Memory Lane: A Trip Into the Past

In celebration of Father's Day, my sister, Lisa, had a great gift idea. At her suggestion, we all piled into a car one afternoon last week, 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, nd 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 a our favorite family restaurant -- The Red Wing -- a seafood/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 example, 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 -- having good friends to hang out with, being at the beach, or spending time in nature enjoying the trees, birds and flowers. I even remembered planting a vegetable garden when I was eight years old - something I still think about doing today.

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

Take Action Challenge

If you live near your old neighborhood, plan a visit some time this week. If you don't, you might plan a future visit, or decide to take a trip down memory lane using old photographs or conversations with siblings. Once you have your method in place, consider the following:

1. What favorite memories are prompted by your visit?
2. Which events or experiences challenged you to become more awake or aware?
3. What events, experiences, or people shaped the person you've become? How?
4. What unexpected clues reflect those things that are near and dear to your heart today?
5. 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.

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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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