As adults, we tend to lose a lot of the simplicity we once had as children. We sometimes forget what we value or enjoy in the midst of the day to day. We have to go to work, pay our bills, take care of families, visit friends, get our cars fixed, invest, save. It's a lot to carry. I know I get overwhelmed being an adult sometimes, with only a portion of those things on my plate, and find myself yearning to go back.
These times of being overly stressed is when we tend to (or want to) break away from the hustle for some relaxation and get back to things that make us happy. We plan big trips out of town or simply take time off work. But when we return, so does the stress and all of those nagging to do's. However, what if we could capture those wonderful things we hold so dear and carry them with us every day?
What if you had a time machine to go back to your happiest most relaxing place, where would you go? What would you do? These good memories are touchstones which allow us to understand what we value and what we need to be happy and live a full life. It will also give us an opportunity to find moments where we can relive these all over again in the present and hopefully bring all of those good feelings back.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Southampton found that nostalgia is good for you! It raises self-esteem, heightens optimism, and provides an improved outlook on the future. It may also help individuals cope with psychological adversity and is thought that the simple act of swapping stories makes use of parts of the brain that might otherwise lie dormant.
When I need to get away and can't, I close my eyes and recall one of my happy places; My grandma's old house. It was a place away from the bustle of the city on Alouette River. Surrounded by nature, you couldn't even tell you had a neighbour and the sounds of the rushing river were always a constant.
Lavender grew along her driveway and she kept the most beautiful wildflower garden in front of her house. She had a greenhouse where she grew vegetables and a garden bed where she grew strawberries that I loved to secretly pick.
On hot days, we'd head down to the river behind her house and wade around. Or nap in the hammock that hung between two trees in the front of the house. On rainy days, you could sit on the (once) open patio, drink your tea and listen to the rain without getting wet. The rippled metal roof it used to have, made some great sounds.
The basement of the house was where the kids used to play Ouija, Clue, or simply get away from the adults. It was also where the grandparents stored all kinds of old things like butter churners, books, and a pantry full of canned goods - and spiders!
Growing up we'd go there almost every Sunday for lunch or afternoon tea and cookies. We'd sometimes stay for dinner and watch hockey with my grandpa. He'd read my palm or ask me what I wanted to be when I got older. I have some incredibly fond memories of this place which I return to when I need to find peace.
So, sadly, we can't go back to experience these things first hand ever again. That doesn't mean we can't try to replicate it to a degree and we can even build new memories rooted in the things that make us the happiest. I'd even argue some things we may already do without even realizing it like our morning coffee / tea or our Sunday brunch routine. By recalling our "happy places", we can get clues to some more things we could re-introduce into our lives by the sheer act of replicating.
Doing these things requires us to stop for a minute, an hour, a day, even two, and make space for it. Of course we can't rent a cabin on a lake every weekend or head off to the nearest ocean for some fishing on a lunch hour (maybe), but we could plan those things in advance. In the meantime, we can recall other things we may be able to consider for the rest of the week and reserve the time we need to enjoy those over lunch or on a quiet evening.
In the midst of working a full-time job on top of the side business over the last year and a half (and having way too much fun doing it), I forgot how to stop and rest. This journey to find a little RnR again has personally led me to these RnR's which have been helpful strategies to find balance in my life again. In sharing them, I do hope they help someone else too!
I'd love to hear how you tap into your good memories to live a fulfilling life. Comment below!