Our Memories Show Us How To Live Great Lives

Written by: | Monday, April 8th, 2013

This post is from Kate Forte, a senior at AZ State University, majoring in Tourism Development Management.

Some of my most favorite memories are from my childhood with my sisters. These memories have become wonderful stories we love to share – mostly to laugh about, but also to learn from. One great story in particular popped into my head the other night when I had some trouble sleeping. Let me set it up for you:

I grew up with two older sisters. We lived in a three-bedroom house with our Mom, which meant that two of us had to share a bedroom. At the age of 8, I thought the bunk bed room was the best option possible; I obviously wasn’t thinking long term. Anyway, I shared a room with the middle sister, Karalyn, until my oldest sister went off to college.

Now it’s been proven that each child in the family takes on a specific personality stemming from their birth order (oldest, middle, youngest, only, etc.)  Karalyn very much took on the middle child personality. She was the overly intelligent, “I prefer to listen to Chopin” kind of girl. Every night, we would play all sorts of games until the first one fell asleep (read: I would keep her up until I fell asleep). I would pick games like ‘categories’ where you pick a topic, like candy, and rattle off the names of various types of candy until someone repeated one or couldn’t think of any new ones.  Karalyn, however, often elected to play 20 questions. I never turned down a challenge, until one night when she truly tested my knowledge as an 8-year old.

“Okay Katie, start guessing”

“Is it a person?”


19 questions later…

“Karalyn, I have no clue! Who was it?”

“Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China.”

Yeah, that definitely was going to be my next guess. I think this was the last game of 20 questions I agreed to play for a long time. I can say, however, that I used this as my go-to “person” for any game of 20 questions she was not involved in. And I learned that for the detailed and analytical approach to things, I check with Karalyn. This is her “thing” – her greatness.

This is just one of my greatness memories of growing up with my sisters – memories that frame my life today. These games also introduced me to my  imagination and my creativity – and my tenacity. I see these as talents – as gifts. And knowing them makes me feel stronger and more courageous in life because I know what I am good at. The memories and strange things we did, provided us with both the comic relief every life needs and the introduction to our unique abilities – abilities that help us make it successfully through life.

So here’s what I’d like you to do. First, look back on your life and smile – think of the amazing memories, traditions and crazy things you have done. Then see what they taught you about who you are – what you are good at and passionate about. These memories give us signals about ourselves. The give us information about who we are and where we fit in life.

See, the older we get, the more we let others tell us how to live, be, work and what to believe. But if we remember back to our wonderful memories as kids, we see our true selves show up. We see who we really are, what we really love and what we are really good at. When I need help making a good decisions at a critical junctions in life, I go back and remember what mattered to me when I was younger – I remember the stories of growing up and am quickly reminded of who I am, what I am good at and what matters to me. I can then approach life feeling capable, confident and courageous.

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