Treasured Moments Matter

Treasured moment: My graduation

My grad school graduation

Memories, whether pivotal experiences or small moments we treasure, reflect our lives, the lessons we have learned, and the paths we have chosen. In many lives, everyday events are just as likely as milestone events to serve as epiphanies and turning points. These treasured moments matter! When you write about  both  commonplace and life-changing events, you grant readers a wide-angle view to your memories.

As time has continued its indefatigable march forward, some moments during the years have stood out more vividly than the rest. Even if our lives are short on momentous occasions, they are full of moments that were momentous to us. Put these treasured moments into writing.

Moments in the Midst of the Momentous

moment in history Write about life milestones or historical events. For instance, those in my parents’ generation inevitably remember what they were doing when they learned that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In my generation, we all know exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first learned of the September 11,2001 attacks. What are most deeply embedded in our memories are not the general parameters of the historical event. It is of the moment of our realization. Accounts of those moments can be particularly poignant. ( has tons of examples.)

Personal Moments

Elephant stare-down is a treasured momentEven less historical moments are equally entrenched in our memory, simply because they were consequential to us personally. These are precisely the moments that mark our journeys. For instance, I always knew, intellectually, that I would love my children, but I was unprepared for the overwhelming rush of love and devotion I felt in the moment that I first laid eyes on my son. In fact, I can remember that moment as if it were yesterday. That moment of love at first sight indelibly marked my entry into motherhood.  (For an example, see Fleeting, Enduring Moment)

Mundane Moments

Frequently, our most cherished memories are moments in the midst of the mundane—the poignancies of the everyday.

They might include a warm evening with a soft breeze in a beautiful setting with good friends that you drank in gratefully, or your first sight of the Grand Canyon, or the Chicago skyline. They might simply be a moment of happiness or heartbreak. They might include catching the look of pride in your father’s eye. Such moments matter.
As you consider writing about your memories, be aware of the moments. Collected together, moments will be quite a treasure. Indeed, you can never be sure what will be most highly valued by those who receive your “treasure chest of memories.” One reader’s trinket might be another’s crown jewel. (For an example, see Falling Gifts.)

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