Ben & Andrew

Memories

You might wonder why a photo from my wedding is the photo I choose for a blog on memories? The reason is that honestly, despite the marriage not working out, it was still one of the best days of my life (although it's taken me quite a few years to circle back to this conclusion). Standing in front of my friends and family & being married by my little brother, was one of my fondest memories. And with that explanation. . . here's my take on some good & some bad memories!

Memories are something that I hold near and dear to my heart. It’s probably the reason I have over 200,000 photos in my iCloud account and on all of my devices. What draws me to hold these memories so tightly? I thought I’d unpack my reasons for holding on to them . . . Both the good and bad.

Photos Memories

As I mentioned above, I’ve got hundreds of thousands of photos I’ve saved, categorized, and tagged . . . LITERALLY. It’s almost obsessive. And I know it. But I can’t help but take tons of photos of my family, friends, and Kailyn.

What I love most about photos, is that it’s a snapshot in time. I never know whether or not that one photo is going to be the one I go back and look at years down the road. If it’s one that ends up being very meaningful to me, I can remember the place, the smell, but most importantly the feeling that I felt at that very moment. As I called it above, it was a snapshot in time. I love that trip down memory lane.

I’ve had so many great moments in my life, that sometimes I like to go back and look at the photos to remember what it was like that day, with that person. Whether or not that person is still alive, still in my life, or living in my house, I love holding onto those memories. I understand that not everyone takes photos or loves photos, and for some reason I just have an affinity to holding onto these memories. It’s very much a part of me.

I’m sure from a psychological standpoint you could break that down to me being an adoptee, and wanting to memorialize things on the off chance life changes. And I think I’m OK with that assessment. If you’ve ever been with me, I bet I’ve got a photo of you on my phone. And along with that photo, a memory of that time we spent. I love this.

If I could make one recommendation to you today, it’s be to TAKE THAT PHOTO. Even if you’re not sure if you’ll ever look at it again. Take it anyhow. Creat a catalog of memories. Some day you’ll thank me.

Video Memories

Nowadays I’ve got almost as many minutes of video as I have photos. I’m actually pretty thankful that camera phones weren’t around back when I was in high school. I bet that would’ve got me in a lot of trouble. but I do enjoy taking a video also as it’s fun to go back and watch them. Videos have the same nostalgia for me. It takes me back in time to that moment. But hearing the voices, noises, and/or music really brings me back to that moment in time. And I love this just as much.

I probably have the most videos of Kailyn. I love the fact that I’ve been able to document her life from birth (literally) to the current day. When she’s away, I like to go back and watch videos of her and me. Sometimes I can’t believe she’s grown into the little girl she has. Time really has flown by. I’m so proud of who she’s become . . . And knowing I have influenced that, makes me even more proud.

I don’t have much more to say about video memories except to say I cherish them just as much as I do my photo memories. Now that cloud space is virtually unlimited, I take as much video as I can. Just as I suggested for photos, TAKE THAT VIDEO. You’ll thank me a second time, I promise. 🙂

Meals & Community

People make fun of me because I eat so many meals out. Part of it is because I’m not that great of a cook, but part of it is because I enjoy the company. You’ll rarely find me at a restaurant eating by myself, and that’s because I’m not very good at being alone. But besides that, I love a good meal, great conversation, and the community that the a meal can create.

I’ll go on record that I love the food. There’s something about having dinner at a nice restaurant, eating a delicious steak, and sipping on a nice bottle of wine, that takes me to my happy place. But more importantly, I love the conversation that accompanies a good meal. That’s why this COVID-19 situation has deeply affected me. I haven’t had the type of community that I am used to getting over meals lately. I’m so looking forward to things becoming more normal, and eating out with friends more often.

These dinners that create community, create even greater memories. Some of my best times with my friends have occurred over a good steak and some wine. To some people it’s just a meal, but to me it’s so much more than that. I love to invite people out to eat and sometimes they decline. But what I failed to mention, is that often times I invite them out because I want to spend time with them. And those that except my offer, probably don’t realize how much it means to me that they would spend the evening conversing, and sharing their life with me. That’s why I love a good meal.

Giving

Those of you that know me well, know how much I love to give. I love to create experiences that people wouldn’t normally have had, had I not created them. Back in the day when I used to go to clubs a lot, people would always ask me why I would buy tables? They wanted to know if I did it to show off. And my answer was always this. I love creating experiences. My friends, people visiting Las Vegas, and people just wandering into my table would never have had the experience they had that night had I not created it. And I take joy in CREATING experiences and therefore memories.

That’s the same reason I take people on trips. It’s the same reason why I throw extravagant parties. And it’s the same reason I buy people gifts. It’s all about creating these special experience las and creating some memories.

Am I being used? The answer is 100% no. If anything, I’m selfishly making myself feel happy by creating these memories. This is a short way of explaining why I do what I do.

Painful Memories

Now onto the deep stuff. I want to talk about painful memories. Not all memories are good. In fact I’m sure a lot of us have a handful or more that we prefer to bury deep inside. I’d say these memories are just as important as the good memories.

We don’t learn about ourselves and what we love or fear from ONLY good memories. It’s the bad ones that help pave the road for a lifetime of happy ones.

I truly believe that hardship in life is what shapes and molds us for the future. They say you don’t learn from success, but only from failure. I don’t 100% believe that because I learn a lot about myself from success. But I’ll tell you that I definitely learn more about myself from failure.

Remembering some of the most painful memories of my life, keep me from making the same mistakes twice. Or at least try to keep me from making the same mistakes twice. I think trying to forget painful memories is like trying to bury mistakes. It’s better to remember them, let them go, and learn from them but it is to try to just forget that ever happened. We’re all human, and we’re going to make mistakes, just like we’re gonna have bad memories. But it’s all about how we deal with them, how we changed for the better because of them, and what we decide to do because of them, that will shape who we become in the future.

My Married-Life Painful Memories

While I’m bearing my soul about painful memories, I thought I’d give you a few real life examples.

Getting divorced was one of my most painful memories. I member the day my ex-wife told me that she no longer loved me and that she wanted a divorce. I remember where I was, how I felt, and the long walk around my block I took as I talked to my mom on the phone.

As a man, it was painful because it felt like a loss. A pretty major loss. As a human being, it was a loss. She was my best friend, and I knew things would change, but not nearly as much as they did. There was a time when she and I were friends till afterwards, and I miss those times. I suppose in this particular instance, it’s a bad memory inside of a good memory. Even though we’re miles from a friendship, I remember all of the great times we had, and in some messed up way, I really miss that girl. But she’s not her anymore, and I’m not the same me, so my memories of our courtship will have to suffice.

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I missed some of the memories I had from when I was married, and that it didn’t make me sad thinking that I’ll never have those again. And I’ve come to grips with the fact that even though things aren’t so great between us now, there were times when we were deeply in love and memories we had that I will always cherish.

8 Years Later

It’s been eight years since I got divorced, and although that seems like a long amount of time, in some respects, it feels like yesterday. It’s funny, I have friends who were still married when I got divorced, ended up getting divorced, got remarried, and have multiple kids, all in the same amount of time I’ve been single. I guess I haven’t 100% moved on yet, because I’m not nearly ready to date someone seriously yet.

This doesn’t mean I want my ex-wife back, because anyone that knows my situation knows that that’s an impossibility, and something I’d never want. But I guess my point is that I know I’ve moved on, because I can reminisce about some of the fun memories we had. There was a period of time when all I could think about was how angry and hurt I was, but lately I’ve been able to smile thinking about some of the fun times we had together. honestly in my mind, it feels like a different person. My memories of us are of this girl I was in love with, even though my current memories are of someone quite different.

My Ex-Best Friend Memories

I think when I got divorced I knew what it was going to be like. But when my ex best friend married my ex-wife, it through my life into a whirlwind. This guy was supposed to be my best friend for the rest of my life. He was the best man at my wedding, and was supposed to have my back. And he didn’t. And that’s OK, because he did what was best for him and I got to see his true colors.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss him in some deep seeded, crazy, upside down world. I mean, most of my childhood growing up has him in my memories.

How can I erase all my childhood memories with him in it? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my friend. But like my ex wife, he’s not the same person he was back then, and I realized I could hold onto these memories even though that man is no longer. And just like my divorce, I realized I’ve moved on because I started telling stories about memories that I have with him.

How to Move On

I wish I had a paragraph here to tell you how to move on from painful memories, but I don’t. All I can say is you have to. Even though I said you shouldn’t FORGET bad memories, I think it’s important to move on. I think of them as one chapter of your life on bookshelf that you need to file and move on from.

Just one chapter.

Our lives are so much more than one chapter. And I think at the end of our lives when we’re being judged or looked at, it will be based on the entirety of all the volumes and chapters of our lives. For me I just want to make sure that every chapter that is written is better than the previous.

And most importantly, I want to make sure that when Kailyn reads these chapters, she’s proud of the man that I am.

My Memories

The most important thing I’ve learned is that these memories are mine. I have the opportunity to make good ones, and move on from the bad ones. I have the opportunity to make amends for memories I’d like to run from, and the fortune to be able to create more good ones for people I love. If you’re reading this you’re already part of my life story and I look forward to making new memories with all of you.

Hang in there, we’re all in this together and as always, thanks for reading . . .

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