Why I Save Everything…

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It has to be, because I’m a writer, right?

I document everything, save everything. Now I have to say, not in a hoarding, here’s-the-napkin-from-our-first-date kind of way. My OCD would never stand for that, but definitely anything I can write down. I save memories, using words.

I have every calendar since I was pregnant with my daughter, I can go back and remember so many things from when I saw a dentist to when I went on a date. I have the paper I made notes on when I was counting contractions on the phone with my mother. I have every journal I’ve ever written, which are really a potpourri of misdirection, but someday, will still serve as a collection of my thoughts for my children to have forever. Being a writer has been more than a job, a dream or a source of accomplishment or income. It’s an effortless life-long story. I have my insatiable need to write to thank for this.

Save your doodles.

Write notes on the bottom or inside of pieces of furniture that have a story to them, or the vase your husband sent you flowers in, the nightgown you wore in the hospital when you gave birth…

Don’t let your whole life’s pictures and memories be trapped in your phone and Facebook.

I love to document life. How we feel in a certain moment, however momentous or insignificant, those feeling are fleeting and fluid, leaving as quickly as they come. I know so many people who struggle with writing, but you don’t have to a novelist to jot down a few words, a date, a story. Not only will your children appreciate it someday, but when you stumble upon a note or a memory or better yet, need to know something and have the security in knowing you can find it, that brings peace of mind, solace and a confidence that your history is being preserved.

Today, I plan to ask my boyfriend to marry me. I am very conservative and old-fashioned, but I just can’t wait for him any longer. More than a sappy proposal, it’s more of a request, suggestion, a plan…so I wanted to have a date to include for his male mind to wrap his head around.  With a little digging, true to form, I found the very first message he sent to me on eHarmony, November 7, 2010. That’s the date! I love that I know that.  (Incidentally, I won’t be posting this until after our conversation…wouldn’t be right to tell the world before he even knew. 😉

The morale to this story is not about my big news. The message is to save your life! Save your moments and your memories. I study and collect genealogy for people all the time and so often, I find very little and my clients are devastated. They all have their reasons, but for whatever reason they have a void and the only thing that can fill it is lost somewhere in the hearts and minds of their ancestors long gone.

So write something down, take a picture, make a note, however small. Your children will thank you.

 

 

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