Over the weekend I made a flying visit to Canberra. I was very happy to get a shift at a hospital there overnight and fortunately for me they even paid for the airfares to get me there and back. I took the opportunity to spend some time with my family and it was particularly great to see my little niece who could say my name and wanted to play with me. While there I went with my mum and dad to see the hot air balloons which were part of the Canberra Day festival. When I was little we would go every year (or so I recall) to see the hot air balloons as they took off on Canberra day. The feel of a brisk Canberra morning, and the roar of the burners as they filled the balloons with hot air will forever lie in my memories associated with wearing my parka, following the balloons until they landed, waking up to hear the balloons landing across the street from our house and having fun family time with mum, dad and my sister.
As I looked at my niece I wondered what it is that memories are made of. She has a lifetime to create memories and associations both good and bad which she will keep coming back to over and over again. And then there are the little things, the inconsequential times in life which one moment in time can jog ones memory of. Like when I saw the balloons this week I remember this one time when we had a particular new car and we followed the balloons as they went over the national library and then we went into the city to the shops after seeing the balloons, and the time we met some distant relation who brought a huge michelin man hot air balloon to Canberra one year and we spent the morning talking to him while all the hot air balloons came up around us.
Memories can be great, but sometimes we have to remember not to live in the past, but to keep on looking forward and creating new memories for our futures.
I have this quote on my desk in front of me and it seems vaguely relevant:
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward. -Kierkegaard