I’ve tossed back and forth quite a bit in my life about how to best remember important events in my life. I’ll be honest in saying that I am pretty bad at remembering to take pictures. Even worse, I never remember to look back at pictures even if I remembered to take them. So as I am in my last 7 weeks of my Furman career, I am battling how I will be able to imprint this experience within my soul so that even the smallest of details will not be forgotten.
I have kept a list of memorable times at Furman since freshman year. Some items on the list are big like concerts or marching band shows. Others are small like conversations or dorm room numbers. Obviously, the list is fairly lengthy at this point. And I love it. Unlike the pictures I have collected, I look at this list almost every day. I love to name the importance of these pieces in the puzzle that is my life. After all, each item on this list has contributed to making me who I am. I love to laugh at old times and smile at how connected life can be. But I am worried this list will not always be so tangible. As I head on to my next steps, I don’t want Princeton memories to overtake Furman memories. Yet, I know my memory bank has limited space.
In light of this not-so-shocking revelation, I have created a new challenge for myself. Against typical Kelly fashion, it is not a challenge that can be added to a “to-do” list or checked off of reminders. My challenge is to connect these memories through mental pictures. It sounds crazy, but follow me here. We all have memories or visuals or events we can remember at the blink of an eye. One word or sound or smell takes us right back to that original moment. And those original moments are precious. So I want to see them, too. My memory bank of these mental pictures is relatively small at this point. I can close my eyes and see my house empty as we moved from North Carolina to South Carolina in 5th grade. I can close my eyes and see my family jamming out on the front porch on a warm summer Sunday afternoon. I’m starting to be able to close my eyes and see the breathtaking sunsets behind the Furman lake. I’m starting to be able to close my eyes and feel the tingles of overpowering sound as the Paladin Regiment performs under the stadium lights. I crave more of that.
As excited as I am to move forward into my journey at Princeton, I long for the discipline to remember where I came from and to feel the power of the experiences and relationships I’ve discovered at Furman without hesitation. So if you see me wandering around campus or sitting in a meeting or stopping in the midst of things with my eyes closed in the next 7 weeks, you can know I am simply capturing the moment in a mental picture. For life is not measured in the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.