I Dare you to Live

What is your first memory?

An unusual question – an older cousin first asked me this after completing a psychology course in college. But it was many years later, before the answer came to me of its own accord.

It was just a few years ago actually – when I had a random flashback of a scene that didn’t quite make sense. It was of my 2nd birthday. But instead of daylight festivities, I remembered my mom waiting until after dark to cut my cake, and to celebrate at all.

To add to my confusion, I had absolutely no memory of my biological father being present at the time.

Checking the Validity

It was for that very reason that I mistrusted the memory. By then, I had completed psychology courses as well, and knew all about how present situations can ‘change’ or ‘fix’ what we think we remember.

It’s been ten years since I cut my biological father out of my life. So I thought… maybe my present situation had somehow erased him from that memory. After a year or so of going back and forth with myself about it, I decided to ask my mother.

“Why do you even remember that?” she asked me.

Mom then explained that we had waited that late, because she had hoped her husband would come home to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. We had waited, and waited, and waited.

But hours went by – and he never came home.

Eventually, she decided we should celebrate alone. The next day, my father still didn’t come home. Or the next. And perhaps – not the one after that, either.

The Point 

I share this to remind us all that people never forget. No matter how young the wrong was done, and even if it remains buried in our subconscious for twenty years, people never forget – so treat them well.

My goal this year is to not just do good by those I love, but to do good by myself. I want to make memories this year that I will want to remember twenty years from now. Memories that overshadow less pleasant things like absentee fathers and delayed birthdays.

I encourage you all to do the same, because far too many people make it to their deathbeds, realising that they haven’t lived enough. According to a Huffington Post article from 2013:

5 of the Biggest Regrets People have on their Deathbeds are:

  1. I wish I had lived the life I wanted, and not the life others expected me to live.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so much.
  3. I wish I had said what I felt to those who needed to hear it.
  4. I wish I had kept in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish I had chosen to live a happier life.

Remember…

Life is short, and the unfortunate fact is that some of us won’t make it through 2016. So do more than just survive this year.

Make it a point to live. 

Have a great week guys!

Originally published January 11, 2016.

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42 thoughts on “I Dare you to Live

  1. Great read Alexis. Couldn’t agree more, every moment counts down to the second, every action, relationship, hobbie matters as well, will you make it count is the question?

    1. I have been making it count for sure. I’ve had a productive year and things seem to be moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, for now, the rest of what I’m waiting for is out of my hands.

      What about you?

      1. Mine, mostly productive I would say. One thing about life it will teach a few things if your eyes are open. This post along with 5 benefits to minimalism really resonates with me, feels like a course I’ve just completed, and as for rest just planning to maximize every opportunity as it presents itself.

  2. I started writing down my thoughts and significant events that took place in my life at age of 10 years old. I still have all my notebooks from then. I use them to remember the lessons I learned and to motivate myself. Most the incidents that I wrote about were bad things that happened to me and my three sisters. My favorite memories are from the days I made mud pies in the back yard and climbing my grandmother’s Mango Tree.

    1. That sounds like a Caribbean upbringing with the mud pies and climbing mango trees haha.

      My journals are still around but probably haven’t survived decay. They’re all back in Jamaica. The only one I have here from the past I wrote as a teen, and that’s on my computer and encrypted. That one I kept.

  3. I’ve been doing a lot more in the past month to live my life than I feel the entire year before. A lot of it has to do with the rough custody battle I was engaged in and some of it the depression from that same battle and some physical things I’m dealing with. I’m definitely trying to live life. One of the ways I’m doing that is writing more as well.

    This is a really good lesson. I liked the way you brought us here, by making it relateable.

    On that note, one of the first things I can remember as a child was catching tadpoles at the lake.

    1. Really? I can’t say I remember ever doing that as a child. How old were you?

      I’m glad you found the post relateable. I do try to share some of my less happy moments in life to remind people that it doesn’t matter where we start on the happy/sad ladder, as long as we try to work our way up.

      I’m sorry to hear about your custody battle. I hope the outcome has or will be to your liking. All the best with this!

      1. I was around three or four when we lived in Hawaii. That’s where the tadpoles were. I did a lot of playing outside (didn’t have video games back there and I hadn’t started reading yet).

      2. That’s a pretty interesting first memory. Everyone else seems to have something tied to family. Yours is pretty solitary.

        Must have been awesome living in Hawaii though!

      3. I was the oldest child. My siblings weren’t quite old enough to join me then. And yeah, Hawaii was nice as a child. I went back for a couple years as an adult to go to college there. Much less appealing living there as a poor student who didn’t do the beach bum thing.

      4. I usually bring my comforts to the beach with me – laptop, notebooks, tablets, snorkelling gear paddle boards, even colouring books.

  4. I love the earliest memory question. I always thought mine was fake, as I had this crazy memory of my mom and dad’s room being very red- red walls and a red bedspread, etc. Crazy right? Then I found a baby picture of myself years later, lying on my mom’s red velvet bedspread with red velvet wallpaper in the background. It was the 1970s, so the decor was as crazy as I remembered 🙂

    1. Wow that’s crazy for sure. I wonder what inspired that? Red walls and bedsheets back then must have seemed so risque!

      But I love that you were able to verify the memory as well. Funny how we always doubt ourselves.

      How old were you then, do you think?

      1. Well in the picture I was a naked infant but doubting the memory was that old… guessing maybe 2 though as my parents split when I was very young.

      2. In psychology, we learned of infantile amnesia. Basically, no one remembers anything before 2 years old because our brains haven’t developed for that yet. So 2 is perfectly feasible, even if sounds a little crazy!

  5. Yeah… let’s not count our days. Make our days count. 🙂 Nice post. I have also thought about those “5 Regrets of the Dying” article that I read before.

    1. You read it too? Awesome. I also read a Wikipedia post once about “last words” from famous people when they died. That too was interesting.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading, and even more, for commenting! 🙂

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