May 2007: Thanks for the memories (and great expectations)

In writing this letter, I find myself on the eve of something great.  For the first time since Maddison was born (she’s 21 months now, by the way), Mary and I are going on vacation.  It’s a vacation we have wanted to do for sometime.  In fact, in August 2006 I wrote to you about making a “Things To-Do Before I Die” list, and this vacation was on that list!  We are going to the Caribbean with some of our best friends and bare boat sailing in the British Virgin Islands.


Our trip will last a total of 16 days.  I’m sure it will go by in the blink of an eye.  But let me tell you, the thought of this trip has made me walk lighter on my feet for the last 5 months since we made our reservations, and the memories we make will be cherished for years to come.  This 16 day trip has had an impact on me before I’ve even stepped on the plane, and it will continue to do so well after I return.


This is true for every great day in our lives.  Our positive experiences influence us well before they arrive and well after they’re over.  Weddings, graduations, vacations, and births of new babies are all anxiously awaited for months, and fondly remembered for years. 


Someone once told me to beware of anticipating something too much for I might love the thought of doing something more than the real-life experience.  It would be like waiting and hoping to see a summer blockbuster movie sequel (Spiderman, Shrek, Pirates…take your pick this summer!) ever since the original became your favorite movie of all time.  But, because your expectations were so high for the sequel, you are let down when you finally see it.


While I agree with this advice when it comes to movie going, I completely dismiss it in other areas of life.  Our ability to hope for things in the future and to fondly remember the past doesn’t take anything away from the actual experience.  It is rather a way for these brief, marvelous moments to have a longer-lasting affect on our lives.


As we all steamroll into a summer that is bound to be full of deeply anticipated and memorable moments, keep this parting thought in mind: great expectations let the future shape your life today; and fond memories let the past enhance your life forever.

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