One summer evening, I was camped out at Sandpoint, Idaho. I had spent the day collecting firewood from old logging roads because there was rain in the forecast, and I wanted to build a bonfire to last through the rain.
That night, a storm blew in and pummeled my camp site. The cheap tent that I had purchased off Craigslist was missing a “footprint”. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I didn’t understand why that was important at time of purchase.
Apparently the tent floor was not waterproof, and without a footprint, the rain water rose from the ground and into my sleeping bag. My sleeping pad had caught on fire in an earlier incident and I had nothing left to separate me from the soggy floor.
It didn’t matter though, because the wind soon tore the tent fabric from the support poles and the entire structure collapsed on my face and I had nowhere to hide so I spent the rest of the night shivering and feeling sorry for myself.
When people ask me about my trip to Idaho, that’s the only story I tell. I don’t much remember the other days. I think they might have been wonderful, filled with idyllic sunsets and waterfowl and hot springs, but I’m not sure.
In past memories, I only remember the stories. That’s how human brains work. Before written language was invented, all of human knowledge was transferred through stories.
A story is defined by conflict and resolution. Without conflict, life has no stories, and memories have nothing to stick to. Pleasant experiences are nice, but they only make the time pass more quickly.
To build memories, seek conflict. To live a life worthy of a story, pick a fight with the universe.