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Happy days…

November 5, 2013

How many truly lovely, happy memories do we enjoy in a lifetime? How many days that seem to be perfect, that make the heart swell, the soul brim? Not many. In fact, most of them are used up in childhood, leaving only a tiny proportion for adult life.

Let’s count them… well, mine anyway, I’m sure I’m a fairly average sample of thirty-something manhood.

1. Christmas. This is a memory collage, a collection of mental images and impressions from around half a dozen Christmases. From my dad and I flying paper airplanes through the arcing paper chains, to snow, to visits to neighbours. From getting my first Star Wars figure, to unwrapping my AT-AT. From getting a brilliant robot to party games. Yes, Christmas is a rich source of memories.
2. Rowing on the Thames – I clearly remember the first time I really got the hang of it.
3. Playing cricket in the New forest with my mum, dad and a pair of uncles and aunties and cousins.
4. Surfing for the first time in Cornwall.
5. Snorkelling for the first time in Spain.
6. Riding my bike my granddad gave me for the first time – riding round and round the block.
7. Getting up early, 5ish to go on holiday.
8. Playing in the garden on long summer evenings. Going upstairs to the loo and seeing the walls burning with orange sunlight.
9. The first time I saw the moon through a telescope.
10. Sitting with a girl, stroking her hair, listening to music, laughing and talking all night. Feeling that beautiful soaring sensation when I kissed her. The girl who became my wife.

And that’s about it – I could maybe add a few more, but they would be personal and therefore really boring for you to read.

So, I have around a dozen, maybe a dozen and a half lovely memories from around the age of 8 to 18-19.

In stark contrast I probably only have around half a dozen from the age of 19 to now, 38. They include making love to my now wife for the first time, and our wedding day – the best, most perfect day of my life.

So, is it harder to make good memories the older you get? Or are we more fussy about what constitutes a good memory. Of course, everything is different when you are a child, but this doesn’t make my very best memories any less valid because they are from when I was young.

Maybe life just gets mundane, truly wonderful days harder to come by. Or maybe the days were wonderful because they were fresh and new.

Whatever the reason, I have some great memories, some of which containing the faces of people who are no longer with us. This makes them poignant and sometimes a little sad, but I wouldn’t be without them because they keep me company in the space between creating and remembering.

I hope, should I remember to do so, I will write this again in thirty years time and tell you about dozens of remarkable and beautiful memories I have made between now and then. Until then, don’t dwell in the past, just rejoice in the beauty of past days and happy times.

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