By Irene Conlan –
Don’t laugh at my pencil holder. Ugly as it is, it has been with me since 1966 and has moved from Phoenix to Scottsdale to Paradise Valley to Washington, D.C. and back to Scottsdale. It has held pens and pencils on every desk I’ve had even when I was in a more elegant setting. I bought it on a whim. I had just moved to Arizona and had little start-up money. I needed some color in my badly furnished apartment and this cat had more color than it needed. It looked happy and I needed that, too.
It’s too bad it can’t talk because I’m sure it would remind me of things long forgotten. Then again, maybe it’s good that it sits silently as a symbol of past days and as a vault for memories of those almost forty years.
Memories, in my opinion, are important as we walk this path of self improvement because they often keep us from repeating past mistakes, and lead us to repeat those pleasant times as much as we can. They remind us of times when we were young, vital, busy and taking life head on and, in our rush, receiving bumps and bruises along the way. We don’t want to forget those bumps and bruises as long as we also remember the wine and roses, the kudos and promotions.
My cat, the proud pencil holder, knows about love and love lost, amazing joy and bitter tears, births and deaths, beginnings and ends. It holds memories of triumph and defeat, friends, failure, sadness – it witnessed them all as it sat stoically doing its job year after year.
Self improvement requires memories – both the positive and the negative. As we look back and remember the wonderful times we may have ideas that will create opportunities for more love and laughter. As we reflect on the negative times we most likely realize how far we come, how strong we’ve been and how much improving we’ve already done.
Positive memories are the WD40 for the hard times. A little spritz of good memories will make the rough times bearable, the sad times less painful. And hopefully, with reflection on these memories and on the present, we can conclude that we like our lives and ourselves a lot already.