I was telling a friend about an ancient city found buried under a large abandoned indoor market in Barcelona, which we visited last summer. That led us to questioning how civilizations get buried, so I did my own “digging,” and learned that some are buried through disasters like volcanoes or tidal waves, but mostly it’s the quite natural work of wind and dust and the accumulation of decaying plant and animal material over centuries.
I realized we all have our own buried things—memories, dreams, talents—which might get covered over by trauma, but for the most part are just obscured with the passing of time and the accumulation of days and experiences. Some old memories might help give us a sense of identity, of family, or of meaning. They might get us back in touch with dreams long buried that still have power, or remind us that once we thought we were good at something and maybe it’s not too late to build on that talent.
For me, writing a memoir meant going after many buried things from my past. It was a process that took time; it couldn’t be hurried. But at the end of the process, I felt more whole, more content with my life.
I invite you to consider a little personal archaeology of your own. Pay attention to glimpses of memory. Watch for signs of old longings. Do they point to something that is missing from your life and might still enrich it?
Possible outcomes: possibly taking a bold new step, maybe telling someone from your past how much they mean to you, or perhaps you will just feel grateful for being alive and for getting to where you are today.
Worth the digging, yes?by