I am 47 years old and I don't remember things the way I used to.
Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.
I probably didn't remember things all that well in my 30s either. Or maybe even in my 20s.
In fact, if it weren't for the diaries I kept from ages 11–14, I probably wouldn't remember anything from those awkward tween and early teen years. And if it weren't for the journals I kept in my late teens through my early college years, same deal.
Sure, I can remember sweeping events. But it's the little things. The details. That is the stuff that is pretty much gone from the old noggin'.
A few weeks ago, Aidan and I were talking about doing a college campus tour to one of my two alma maters, the University of Washington. I was trying to recall stories of dorm life but the only one I could really remember was the night I downed an entire six pack of Olde English 800, passed out at 7 p.m. and woke up in the middle of the night on the bathroom floor. After throwing up a few times, I noticed that someone had drawn giant black bats (thank you, Billy Kincaid) all over my body with Sharpie.
Sure, that's some detail. (It's also the last time in my life I ever got quite that schnockered.) But that's what I call a sweeping event. What I don't remember was daily life as a freshman at UW. I don't remember how I made my way through campus and found my classes for the first time. I don't remember if I was ever stressed out at the work load. I simply don't remember the little things. My daily routine. What I ate for lunch. What I thought of the weather. Hell, I even had coffee with one of the guys from a band that would later become Pearl Jam, but I can't even remember what he looked like, or what we talked about, though I know that his name was Stone Gossard and I sort of remember thinking: not my type.
I don't even have many photos from that era. But such were the times in olden days, pre iPhone and Instagram.
It's the same with my life as a newlywed.
It's the same with my life as a young mother.
I don't remember the every day aspects of those times in my life. It's all going to sweeping now. The specifics are so much harder to hold onto.
Just last week I was telling a friend, who used to scrapbook but no longer does, "I wish I had done Project Life since Aidan was born at the very least." I went on to tell her that this past year-and-a-half contains more detail of the stuff I want to remember than anything I've ever done before.
And it is so not about being some crazy Scrapbook Mom. You know, the Moms who are so busy documenting that they miss out on the actual living part of the memories they're making. I've been there and done that a few times over the years.
Project Life is really about the little stuff… the minutiae… the specifics… the glorious mundane trappings of every day that I wouldn't trade for all the L-Series lenses in the Canon arsenal.
I think many of us agree that this is the stuff we want to remember. Not the fence posts of life, but the slats that make up what contains our everyday existence.
My therapist and I have talked a lot about the facts of a human life. We are born, we have a life span, we have emotions and we eventually die. It's not overstating to point out that this span of time is utterly and completely precious.
Some of us get more of it than others.
Some of us have an easier time in the process.
But all of us can connect to the gratitude for the opportunity.
Project Life is helping me to savor this time span. It's letting me report on my life in a simple way. It doesn't stress me out. It doesn't take up all of my time.
It simply lets me acknowledge this life I'm so grateful to have.
It's just something I felt compelled to share with you today.
To learn more about Project Life, click here.