How To Create Standout Moments in 2011
January 5, 2011 § 13 Comments
In December, 60 Minutes did a piece on the six people identified so far who have autobiographical memories. These are people who can recall every single moment of their lives, eventful or mundane: the day they had to switch from a beloved to a new school at the age of 13, including reliving the emotions experienced that day; what they did the day they broke up with a girlfriend 15 years ago; what the weather was like on May 3, 1975; or the score of the Redskins-Steelers game on November 10, 1991.
The piece discussed whether this endless memory was a gift or a curse. But in the end, one of the six said:
“…Sure, there are times when it’s difficult. But I feel like it makes me live my life with so much more intention and so much more joy. Because I know that I’m gonna remember whatever happens today, it’s like, all right, what can I do to make today significant? What can I do that is gonna make today stand out?”
Now is a popular time for folks to make New Year’s resolutions, to set personal and professional goals for the coming year or to update their bucket lists. In the last few days of 2010, I reflected on what I’d wanted to do that year, noted what I actually did and updated my bucket list.
But after reading this 60 Minutes piece, I realized something. Life isn’t just about grinding through goals or a list of activities. And you never know what life is going to throw at you.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t continue to set goals or update your bucket list; I certainly have specific things I want to learn and do in 2011 (which I’ve shared below).
But what I am saying is that setting the goals and updating the lists don’t mean anything if you’re not living the life you want every day. And I’ve come to believe over the past year that “every day” is a crucial part of that sentence. It’s not that we all have to accomplish something prize-worthy on a daily basis. Rather, it’s realizing that what we have is this life, and making it count means making every day count, even if — or maybe, especially if — it’s because of one, small moment.
So instead of making New Year’s resolutions, setting specific goals for myself or seeing my list as the only things I need to do to feel satisfied about 2011, here’s what I’m committing to:
I commit to
experiencingappreciating a standout moment, every day.
It hit me when writing the statement that “experiencing” wasn’t enough. The point of this commitment is to:
- Be attuned to what makes me happy and passionate so I can create those moments
- Be present enough to see and feel those moments each day
- Then take them in and be grateful for what they’ve added to my life
These moments could be anything, and they could be good or bad: noticing the beauty of the sun illuminating leaves in the garden; getting the plum jam completely wrong — but then just right; learning something for the first time and allowing the delight and frustration that come along with that.
Of course, as I mentioned above, there are specific things I want to learn and do in 2011. I’m guessing these will provide lots of standout moments for me this year! To keep myself accountable and give you a preview of some of the things you’ll likely read about on this blog, here’s the list. Most are related to homegrown, homemade food, but I’m sharing the others too:
HOMEGROWN / HOMEMADE FOOD STUFF
- See how much produce I can grow vs. have to buy
- Learn to butcher a hog
- Learn to make various Japanese and American pickles to carry on old recipes
- Learn my grandma’s Indonesian recipes before it’s too late
- Make my own bacon
- Make egg nog from scratch
- Get better at canning
- Get better at jam-making
- Become proficient at making homemade cheese
- Build a small repertoire of holiday sweets that keep various traditions alive
- Visit two to three organic farms/vineyards/orchards to learn what it takes to run them
- Practice shooting guns (because one day, I’d like to hunt my own food, at least once)
- Grow more dahlias to have around the garden and house (okay, this isn’t food, but it’s nice to have the colorful inspiration while one cooks!)
- See wildlife in the snow in Yellowstone
- Eat my way through and take another cooking class in Italy
- Taste locally-made wine or spirits where they’re crafted in a place I’ve never been (e.g., Oregon wine country; bourbon in Kentucky)
CREATIVE & PHYSICAL
- Improve my photography
- Be able to easily play at least two fun songs on the piano, anywhere, anytime
- Rock climb (inside on a climbing wall) at least once, to see if I can manage my fear of heights
What can you do to create standout moments for yourself this year?
Click here for the 60 Minutes story on autobiographical memory; it’s quite a piece.
Thanks to David Romanelli for sharing the 60 Minutes piece and helping to inspire this post. You can find out more about David’s yoga and chocolate classes here.