Why We Need Reminders

They are the post-it notes, Google calendar notifications, and to-do lists that keep me structured and my head on straight. The scribbles on a dry erase board and notes on my iPhone that help jog my memory when I sit down to write; little things to grease the wheels.  These are the daily reminders that enhance organization and promote efficiency.

Then there’s the other side of the coin.

The reminders unrelated to productivity and trying to cram as much into a twenty-four hour period as possible.  These are moments of nostalgia that evoke something more, something visceral.  They’re present every day but we aren’t always aware of them.  Though they have a knack for grabbing our attention at just the right moment.

They’re handwritten letters from incredible friends that you stumble across while cleaning out your closet.  All you need is the first sentence to elicit a grin from ear to ear.

It’s a song you hear unexpectedly.  You know the one.  A past love instantaneously consumes your thoughts, filling you with pain or lulling you into a state of sweet revelry.  Or maybe it’s the one that rekindles the memory of an unforgettable road trip, that insane concert, or a ridiculous night out with friends.  There’s something powerful about music.

It’s a smell that transports you through time.  The scent of cardboard boxes and duct tape; you were quite the box-fort architect in your formative years. The smell of freshly cut grass; oh the freedom of the first day of summer break in elementary school.

It’s an impromptu gathering of great friends where hours pass without concern; carefree timelessness.

It’s a random text from a friend letting you know it’s okay to stop for a moment and just breathe.  Life doesn’t always need to be as serious as we make it.

It’s a goofy photo booth picture taken at your friend’s wedding.  Sweat stains are irrefutable evidence that you danced your faces off.

It’s the sound of crisp leaves crunching beneath your shoes as the bite of cool air signals the onset of fall.  The holidays are coming!  The holidays are coming!

It’s a picture of your grandfather perched atop your bookshelf; his stubbornness carries on inside you.  Maybe you should call your family (more than once a month).

Reminders exist because we forget stuff.  We lose track of birthdays if Facebook doesn’t notify us.  We forget doctor’s appointments, to pick up floss at the store, and to send that email that was due three hours ago.  Sometimes our brains just don’t work the way we want them to.

Other times we get caught up in the world around us – the hive of activity, the busyness we feel pressure to assimilate to or we’ll be left behind.  We need a nudge from time to time to regain focus on what we really care about.  We need to remember the good times and the bad.  This lets us know that we are in fact human, capable of feeling the whole gamut of emotions – which is a good thing.

Reminders help me to see opportunity amongst uncertainty. They give me hope and the strength to persevere.  They help me recall lessons I’ve learned, usually more than once, but have temporarily erased from my brain.  They help me get back on track when I’ve lost my way.  Conversely they help me veer off the beaten path when I’ve grown too comfortable.  I wish I could remember it all, all of the time.  But I can’t.  I need a little help – that’s okay.  That is why we need reminders.


Enjoy The Journey


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