How do you celebrate special events?
It is a common practice to create a social event around a birthday, anniversary or reunion.
It starts early on with your birthday. Parents, family and friends gather around a cake lit with birthday candles. They sing to you and then present gifts and cards. You, the birthday celebrant, are the center of attention. And that attention usually creates strong memories, hopefully happy ones.
There are those times when maybe you didn't get what you wanted (pout) or somebody couldn't be there (disapointment). And some of us don't want to celebrate when we get advanced in years (I still do!).
If you've been married a number of years you know the accomplishment and challenge of staying together. It really requires a partnership.
Anniversaries can also mark various occasions, some special (such as sobriety years) and others somber (tragedies like 9-11-01).
A third type of marker of time with a social aspect are reunions. Getting together with old friends, coworkers, classmates or family can be memorable. We want to catch up with people we haven't seen in a while and see how their lives are going.
I recall with particular fondness a family reunion the summer of 2001. My parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and we gathered with aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings at the very scenic Lake George in Upstate New York. We water-skied, fished, boated, sunbathed, played table tennis and golf, and had some excellent meals. Not only was it a reunion and an anniversary, we also got to celebrate my brother's 4th of July birthday. It was a trifecta of events: birthdays, anniversaries and reunions - oh my!
Commemorating these special events is important. They are part of your life story and your personal history. Sometimes there is a family member or friend who likes preserving the memories around these events. Nowadays it is easier than ever to record audio and video. And the writers among us can take time to craft a story to share that keeps the memories alive in our minds and hearts.
Our lives are a journey and along the way are many experiences that can be important in our quest to find meaning and pass along life lessons and values. This is part of what is so exciting to me about life story preservation.
So the next time you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or reunion think about how you can preserve memories of the special occasion. It's important for you and those who are celebrating. And it could be special for generations to come who get insight into your life and times.