Finding wellbeing in connections to your past
Updated: Feb 2
Connections to your past are powerful. As they make up part of your personal history, it’s worth your time to reflect on these connections every now and then.
Shared moments with those that mean something to you. Memories created with them. Revisiting these connections, no matter how insignificant they may seem, creates a sense of self-worth. They make you realise that you are valued. At this time of year, I often think of those that are no longer around, be they beloved relatives or far-away friends.
On Saturday, I sifted through my recipe file and dug out my Grandma’s Christmas pudding recipe. The thing is though, it’s not really my Grandma’s recipe. It’s my Grandmother’s Grandmother’s recipe – and possibly even further back for all I know. A shared connection to our past.
Seeing my Grandma’s handwriting – loopy cursive words on laminated white paper – makes me quite emotional. It evokes warm memories of her in her tiny kitchen making rock cakes, which she renamed “Hard-doers”. I’ve often thought why I never asked her why she called them that. It makes me sad that I’ll never find out the story behind the name.
I stare into the distance, and the memories of my Grandma start to arrive thick and fast...
The feeling of her cheek as I reached up to it when sitting on her knee as a little girl. It was soft, tanned, and smooth. Stroking her cheek was very soothing. When I think about it, her cheek felt much like mine does. It shocked me when I realised that she was the age I am now when I sat on her knee all those years ago.
Smells and scents are another great memory provoker. How is it that I can still remember the exact smell of my Grandma’s linen closet after all these years? I absolutely loved opening the door and breathing in her freshly laundered bed linen and bath towels. Such a simple act, but that smell has and will remain with me for my lifetime.
And why is it that now, I don’t get the same delight opening my own linen closet? Is it that when you are a child, all your senses are heightened with the wonder of discovering new things on a daily basis? That as an adult, you don’t get the same pleasure from such small things and that it takes something more dramatic to elicit such a profound response?
Have any of my possessions, my cooking, perfumes or singing already made an impression on those I love the most? That they evoke vivid memories of me when they smell that fragrance, hear that song or make that particular dish. I hope something eventually brings the same sense of warmth and affection to them, as the memory of the scent of my Grandma’s linen closet brings to me.
Connections to our past generations – be they treasured family heirlooms, photographs or recipes – should be cherished. It’s a feeling of comfort to know that you come from a long line of relatives that paved the way leading to just you. These connections are evidence that they too had a life and have contributed something to it that is meaningful to their future family members. How wonderful is that!
The ritual of making our yearly Christmas pudding is the catalyst that allows me to revisit my childhood memories with my Grandma. I make a real point to remember happy times spent together with her, which bubbles over to include memories spent with other family and friends too. Making the pudding has, over the years, become synonymous with taking the time to appreciate my relatives, friends and times past. My personal way of experiencing the real spirit of Christmas, perhaps?
What is your personal “linen closet”? The thing that the moment you sense it, it brings back good memories and puts a smile on your face? Take the time to find those special connections to your past and ponder what it is that you do to evoke joy in others you care about.
Leave a comment or like if this provoked you to revisit connections to your past.