Last year (August 2019), I published a blog Keepsakes and Memories.  I concluded by sharing research to support the contribution of reminiscence to meeting the intent of Blooms to Blossoms.  I stated: 

A study from the Association for Psychological Science (2014) reported that nostalgia is now emerging as a fundamental human strength.  Studies by Hallford and Mellor (2015), Melendez Moral & Fortuna Terrero, Galan, and Rodrigues (2014) support the idea of enhanced self-esteem, life satisfaction, socialization and overall well-being through reflection and sharing of key life events.  

A couple weeks ago I shared an article I read about “front porch memories” and community building.  After reading the article I did a virtual search for, and found, my grandparents’ front porch.  Since finding my grandparents’ front porch I wondered about other places I have lived, gone to school, worked, and played.

Addis (2015) describes memories as having an important role to play in functions that directly impact our well-being. Moreover, memory is critical for our sense of who we are – in the past, present and the future. With the idea of connecting past, present and future with well-being I made a list of addresses, locations, and events I attended over the years, opened my map app and took a virtual trip down memory lane. 

As I started my trip down memory lane, I was mindful that this adventure would be exciting and at times disappointing.  Like my grandparent’s porch, some places in my past were not visibly as grand as I remembered BUT the memories of my experiences and the people were wonderful.  I took my trip in chronological order so I could revisit how I moved from point A to B to C….ending this past month.  

Social connection and self-continuity describe the benefits identified by Baldwin, Biernat, & Landau’s (2015) review a group of studies on nostalgia and sense of self.

Baldwin, Biernat, & Landau BenefitsMy trip down memory lane
Boosts moods**remembering events, athletic competitions
Triggers inspiration & motivation**remembering educational and work accomplishments
Provides a glimpse of your authentic self**remembering who I truly am is a result of decisions and choices I made 
Aids problem-solving**remembering that various “bumps in the road” make me stronger
Creates sense of well-being**remembering my belief in the importance of a holistic, wellness guided life 
Improves relationships** remembering family, friends, students, teachers, mentors, and colleagues

I refined my goals, values, and ideals over the years, but I found a stable sense of self.  By reflecting on my past, I gathered insight into my present AND inspiration for my future.  

Life is a journey of experiences + people = the identity one becomes.
I discovered myself again after taking a trip down memory lane.

Taking the time to pause and really value each of the events that pass our way, rather than just moving mindlessly from one moment to the next, can ensure that we really experience life, instead of failing to see the ties and connections that truly prove the connectedness of us all.  Wolbe (2017)