As summer is coming to an end in the northern hemisphere, I thought about summers past. Then an interesting thought came to mind. Memories that I remember most vividly from childhood usually occur in the summer or involved something new, something unexpected.
Why summer? Why do memories from these two to three months a year are the ones that remain so vividly in my mind? What happened with the rest of the year? Why do new, unexpected events leave marks upon the brain?
Of course, memories from the other nine months of the year, which is not summer, also appear now and then, however, I noticed that they are usually memories of time with an “event” to remember. For a kid, that meant traveling, new experiences, birthday parties or playing with the dog and somethng happens. I remember seeing Chantilly in France for the first time as we rounded a bend in the road and suddenly before us appeared the magnificant castle. I remember dropping chocolate on a white sweater while visiting the Loire Valley. Then standing in the rain, looking up at the Neuwienstein (Fairy Tale Castle) near Munich, or having fireworks magically rain down overhead on Luxembourg’s national day.
Usually, memories imbed themselves when something new happens, something unexpected, or something you’ve never experienced before happened. Sometimes, it involves planning something mischievous or working on a school project that I found extremely fun and challenging. I remember one where we had to think about how to prevent an egg from breaking if it is dropped for the second story. Each team worked hard and may theories developed. The fun part was when all the different groups had their eggs actually dropped. You could see how different types of packaging reacted as it flew through the air and hit the ground. Sometimes it involved thinking about the planets and their relations to one another, or writing up a report on the hazards of smoking.
Yes, school projects do make a difference. I still, for some reason, remember since grade school that kangaroos have extremely strong tails that could kill you if you were hit by one. I also remember that a cigarette has over four thousand hazardous compounds. I remember reading the words, writing about them and feeling in awe.
Why do these particular memories come to mind? I think it’s because they involved a new experience that made your brain think. A new activity that challenged the brain, like it has never been challenged or experienced before. These “moments” where the brain had to really work, really think, are the ones that are imbedded most strongly in the mind. Stimulate the mind.
Sometimes as we grow older, work, and end up living life in a routine, we lose a bit of that “awe” that a kid has. We grow accustomed to our life, and do not want to try new experiences. We do things the way we always do, because that’s the way we’ve been doing it. I say, keep life inspiring, try something new each day. If that’s too much, try each week or each month. Discover the little child inside and explore, for this world is still full of such wonders. Keep questioning, keep exploring, and keep feeling awed by all around you.
Live life with passion. Life is so much fun, and too short to let it go to waste. Live your life. Don’t let routines bogg you down!