Last week during what was a wonderful visit from my parents, we enjoyed many adventures – Smithsonian, house hunting for our pending move, and general exploration which often included eating. Near the end of their stay we went out to a Cuban restaurant that none of us had previously been. My mom had a meal that she enjoyed many times before at other restaurants, but never as much as this. When she finished her meal she announced that the dish was so good that she might never order it again. It might have been the food, it could have been the company, the atmosphere, or a combination of it all. Whatever it was, it wouldn’t happen again.

This past weekend, my wife and I enjoyed the Armed Forces Gala with many friends, Shipmates, and co-workers. The lady sitting next to me told me of her 93-year-old mother who grew up on the New Jersey Shore many years ago. She loved growing up there so much that she refuses to go back.

Over the years, my wife has asked me repeatedly about going back to Italy, a place we enjoyed four wonderful years together. Each time I tell her that my memories are so good that a return trip would be such a disappointment that I preferred the Italy that lived in my mind.

Memories are funny things. Sometimes we remember things as being so much better than they were and other times we remember things much worse than they were. Rarely do we remember things as they actually were. That has changed for those who document their lives in video or have others do the same for them; like it or not they are able to relive things as they actually were, or some might say that they are so busy documenting life that they don’t give themselves a chance to truly experience it. It’s a concept foreign to most, but as crazy as it might sound the phrase, “that was so enjoyable that I never want to do it again,” makes so much sense. I talk to many Sailors and I am quick to share the journey that has brought me here. It continues to be such a blessing that I never want to go back and attempt to do it again. In part, because I have been so fortunate that it would be impossible to be so lucky a second time around. Another reason is that those with whom I have created so many memories are not available to do it again with me. And the last reason is that I am likely remembering the highs as being much higher than they were and the lows, well who wants to relive the lows?

In the movie industry, sequels are rarely as good as the original. In the real world, though there may be many ‘do-overs’, there is no way to accurately recreate experiences exactly as they were. My life is far from a movie but each additional scene continues to be better than I deserve.  And as I reflect upon my past, the re-creation would pale in comparison to the memories I have. After all, the best thing about memories is making them…

  • How successful have you been at re-creating your most prized memories?
  • What memories are so good that you refuse to attempt a ‘do-over’?
  • What experiences are so good or bad that you want another chance to experience them?