I consider today a special day. For one, it is Halloween. Happy Halloween to all of you! Secondly, sixty-one years ago, I came into the world. For my parents, I can assure you it was a treat not a trick. If they were here to tell the tale, I am sure they would express their feelings of gratitude for creating a unique human being, one of their own, as they often shared with me. Alas, they are not, and like all of you, I have no memory of entering the world. Now some would say they recall being an infant. Unfortunately or, maybe, fortunately, depending on how you view the lack of ability to walk or talk, my memory does not recede that far back in time.
My first memory was about age three when we moved into the family home. Going forward, many wonderful childhood memories took seed and began to sprout. As I say in my keynote speech and my book, savoring positive memories especially, but not always, when the going gets tough is only one of two purposes for re-examining the past.
Halloween is one of those unofficial holidays which held so many pleasant experiences for me throughout childhood and adolescence and not just because I was born on 10/31. I recall one special Halloween when I was approximately eight or nine. At the time which was the mid-to-later sixties, public-school, latency-aged children went home for lunch at least where I was raised. While my mother was working full time, my father who worked the night shift helped me get costumed during a lunch reprieve. We searched for black attire since I had a witch’s hat, and most fitting since I arrived into the world in the witching hour, I dressed up as a witch. At the time, my hair was almost black, and my dad took black crayon and drew lines on my face to give me a more craggy appearance. His obvious pleasure was quite evident as he took glee in assisting me in this transformation from child to, well, child witch. I never forgot looking in the mirror and joining him in laughter.
Later that day, I, along with neighborhood friends, went Trick-or-Treating. Although my parents were quite protective, in those days, we were old enough to venture out with kids of eight years plus for this special night. The neighborhood was quite safe, and there were never concerns for us playing outside. I remember the fun we had traversing the neighorhood. At the end of this adventure about 9 P.M. one-by-one, we dispersed to return home. I do not remember if there was a full moon, but I do recall it being a starry night. For just a couple of minutes, I was alone and a bit frightened, scurrying along to reach the safety of home. Once inside the warmth of our small but loving house, my momentary fear evaporated. With good cheer, I opened my bag and anticipated the delicious treats melting in my mouth over the coming days.
Since that time, I have had many birthday celebrations and smile when people say, “Wow, you were born on Halloween?” Even now as I show my mature license for identification, I get a similar response. Although I stopped Trick or Treating long, long ago, I will never forget that particular day 52 years ago when my father not only assisted me in creating an amusing costume but an amazing memory. I think about this endearing experience and am most pleased it has seared into my brain. What a treat!
How about you? Does Halloween offer pleasant memories? If so, close your eyes and imagine an exceptional one. If Halloween does not resonate, think about a positive memory which you can evoke and embrace. By holding tight to such a lovely recall, when an obstacle comes into your path, invite this beautiful picture to vividly emerge. It might be just the visual you need to tackle the latest hurdle toward getting UnStuck.