With summer holidays on the horizon and most of the world tucked away at home, it’s easy to become melancholy thinking of the plans we have had to delay or cancel entirely. Our resort reservations are being rescheduled. Beloved theme parks are empty. The warm sand and sun call for us but we can’t answer. Our homes may seem darker and smaller, hemming us in.
My parents had intended to escape on an exciting getaway for their upcoming silver anniversary. Now that the plan is out of the cards, my mom and I have been reminiscing about our past vacation trips. We’ve discussed the shops, the barbeques, the cool air on the resort balcony in the morning, our friends in other states.
“When I close my eyes and relax, allowing myself to really picture it, I almost feel like I’m there,” my mom says.
In times like these, memories are much more important than we may realize. One of the many reasons we make them is to look back and re-experience the happiness we felt then. Though we may be hindered from making new memories with loved ones elsewhere—and we unfortunately don’t have time machines—here are a few ways you could recapture some joy from the old days:
- Write about it. Focus on a memory that is important to you and write down as many details as you can about it. What made you smile? What made you laugh?
- Find some pictures. Pull an album off the shelf or track it down in your Facebook history. Look back on those times with fresh eyes. How have you grown since then?
- Rifle through some boxes of memorabilia. Most of us have a box of sentimental trinkets on a shelf. Take some time to dust it off and remember how special the contents are.
- Like I have, find someone you can talk to about the past. Don’t feel guilty if you’re wishing for better times. Others are, too.
Reflecting on comforting memories puts us in a better mood and makes life feel more meaningful. It connects us to others when we share it with them. Most important, it makes the future look brighter. Look back on all of the ways you’ve survived and thrived over the years. If we found joy once, twice, a hundred times in our lives before, we can and will again.