“Sometimes,” he sighed, “I think the things I remember are more real than the things I see.” -Arthur Golden
Memories are a tricky thing. They can lift our spirits or knock us flat on our ass. They can be the way we hold loved ones close or the medium through which our demons haunt us.
Some even say that the continuing culmination of our experiences and memories are the very essence of who we are. We live in the memories of others and they live in ours.
We all want to be remembered, to make an impact. That’s why people dream of fame, of success, of making a difference. That’s the worry over the perfect first impression and the reason for hours of practice before the grand finale.
The day comes for all of us where we look at our lives and ask the question: How will you be remembered? What kind of gifts, footprints, and scars have you left in the lives and memories of others? Do you lift them up and make them better for having known you? Do you tear them down in the quest to fulfill your own selfish wants, your own narcissistic desires?
When other people think of you, what comes to mind first: your love, your loyalty? Your lies? Will you be famous or infamous to the people that matter most?
Everyone will remember us a little differently, but someone who is true to them self and consistent in their convictions will be remembered by most in the same way, whether that be good or bad. And that memory will live on and continue to affect others for years to come. A quick glance or a careless word spoken out of anger or fear- or love- these are the ways in which we persist. Isn’t it crazy, and terrifying, and wonderfully amazing the power that we have over each other?
There are many people who exist in my memories, both living and dead. There are those I remember fondly and those I would rather not remember at all. Each of them has affected who I am and, in turn, the way I will be remembered by others.
And so the question remains, how do you want to be remembered? Far more importantly, how will you live each day, from now until the day you die, in order to become the memory you think you deserve to be?
Just remember: the answer to that question is one of the few things that matters.