Experience Beats the Present
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., US Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Experience beats the present, any day.
My wife and I just got back from San Antonio this weekend, where we decided to start a new tradition of Experience Journaling. The idea is to capture the most memorable moments of the trip in a journal, so that we can read the journal years later and trigger those awesome memories.
See, our Facebook feeds are dotted with pictures of events, our room is decorated with framed photos, and a few souvenirs fill some shelves on our bookcases. The problem is, there’s no context attached. So those two smiling carved coconuts may trigger a memory of a campfire dance in the Bahamas for me, but my wife might remember that argument we had about the finances when we ordered them.
Hence, the Experience Journal. We sat down at IHOP on our way out, and jotted down every positive thing we could remember: petting Red Ruff Lemurs, laughing our way through a Mirror Maze, clutching each other through a Haunted House, and feeding a Tortoise who was very determined to escape.
These Experiences beat any gifts we could have gotten each other, and these experiences also push us to live each event with the intent of writing it down later. No one wants to write down: “I don’t remember the Aquarium because I was too busy scrolling through Instagram.”
We LIVED the experience, instead of just LIVING THROUGH the experience.
Maybe it’s time to start an Experience Journal for your family. Maybe, when your kids are all grown, you can crack open one of those books and start reading about that trip to Disney, and you’ll be greeted with lots of, “I forgot about that!” or “Oh yeah! That was awesome!”
Here’s the rules we set for our Experience Journal, feel free to use them, or modify as you want:
1) The journal must be bought at or during the experience (we chose a small Dolphin sketchbook at the Aquarium)
2) At the end of the experience, everyone sits down together
3) The first person writes about ONE event, as much as they want about that event (example: my wife wrote about going through a Mirror Maze)
4) The next person writes what THEY remember about that SAME event (example: I wrote about how half our group got lost for an extra 30 minutes in the Maze), THEN writes about a NEW event
5) The first person then writes what THEY remember about that SAME event, THEN writes about a NEW event
6) Keep going back and forth until you’ve written down everything you can remember.
It’s a TON of fun going back and forth and reading what each person writes, and it helps you re-live each of those experiences.
It’s even more important for children to have experience like this, because a child’s mind is more easily molded. A bad experience at a tournament could keep a child from ever competing again, while a good experience could give them the inspiration to practice harder for the next one to take home a trophy.
This is what we do at Legacy, as well. We provide experiences like our Halloween party and Teach a Buddy for a Day, where each of our students gets to create positive memories about their time here. Our goal is for each child to be molded in a more positive manner by the experiences they have here.
Do you have any traditions like an Experience Journal? Share them in the comments, and maybe you can spark a new way for someone else to LIVE in the moment, instead of just LIVING THROUGH it.