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Make Memories That Matter

Jul 1, 2008
When it slammed into Anguilla, Hurricane Luis was a strong category four storm with sustained winds of 150 mph and gusts up to 200 mph. None of us knew what to expect and everyone on the island was terrified. We'd all seen reports on television of hurricanes completely destroying communities, but it had been thirty years since a bad storm hit Anguilla and people had become complacent. Now, we were scared. As the winds picked up, everyone braced themselves for the worst. Houses were boarded with plywood as were all of the hotels, restaurants and office buildings. The hurricane crashed into Anguilla and stayed for thirty six long hours. And when it was over, Luis had destroyed our little restaurant, leaving behind only scraps of wood and splinters from our tall, teal shutters.

Why is it, you might wonder, that we look back at Hurricane Luis with loving thoughts? Well, thankfully, there was no loss of life or serious injury on Anguilla so the damage was limited to things. Buildings, lamp posts, boats, signs, plants, and cars were completely destroyed. But it's what happened after the storm that stays in our memory. We will never forget how the Blanchard's Restaurant staff showed up with hammers and saws in hand ready to rebuild. Their love and enthusiasm for the life we had created together warmed our hearts; it was a priceless gift. We had worked hard to build a family of people who sincerely cared about each other and the realization that we had succeeded was just about as wonderful as anything we can imagine.

Think about the memories you're creating every day. We all pay attention to major events like weddings, births and graduations and have photo albums filled with those memories. But what about the days in between? How do they stack up against those few special days? Maintaining your dream and living what you love has a great deal to do with the memories you create throughout your life. When you're deciding to make a change and to bring the spirit of LWYL into your heart, consider what memories you've created in the past and what kind of memories you want to create from now on.

Our photo albums are filled with family snapshots spanning five decades. We have photos of each of us before we were married, and then piles of albums documenting a million great times with Jesse and his wonderful wife, Maggie. And because so many of our cherished memories are tied to our work, we have photo albums at the restaurant as well. They're stuffed with memories of the trips we've taken together with our staff as well as photos of everyday life at the restaurant: Miguel carefully arranging flowers on a table, Lowell and Rinso concocting a new drink at the bar, Tarah greeting guests with her warm, welcoming smile, and Clinton and Hughes grilling lobsters and tossing salads in the kitchen. The memories of our adventures - both personal and business - are our greatest treasures. Some brought tears and others made us jump up and down with joy and excitement. The tearful moments taught us some painful lessons and the joyful occasions have given our life meaning and purpose. But each one of those adventures makes up our life and our history, and we love them all.

If the world were going to end tomorrow, what would you look back on? Would it be the weddings, birthdays and anniversaries? Or would you have countless other experiences that you deliberately chose and dearly value? Maintaining your dream will fill your photo albums with memories from every day of your life. Do something you're passionate about and you'll want to remember it all. Surround yourself with people you care about, and you won't want to forget any of your times together. Create memories that you love. Follow one dream and then another. Live what you love. And even if you don't have a camera to take pictures along the way, you'll have a heart filled with memories.

Remember

Do

Create meaningful memories
Celebrate your dreams
Turn setbacks into opportunities to remember
Don't

Underestimate the importance of the tiny moments that make up each day
Forget that energy and enthusiasm help to create positive memories
Take your life story lightly
About the Author
Bob and Melinda Blanchard are motivational, life change experts who teach people how to successfully navigate life transitions such as graduation, divorce, career change, starting a business or simply pursuing your dreams. To learn more about their books and how to live what you love, visit Live What You Love .
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