Collect Memories, Not Things

On January 5th of last year, my dad turned 65, which marked a significant chapter in his life — not only in terms of age but also as he prepared to step away from an extraordinary career.

Since then, I’ve been planning a celebration that truly encapsulated the man he is and the impact he’s had on all of us.

However… the challenge was finding a gift that could match the magnitude of this milestone — especially since my dad is already surrounded by all his favourite gadgets and toys.

But despite his material possessions, there was one thing that he had never been able to truly give to himself:

The recognition he genuinely deserved for being the amazing man, partner, father, friend, leader and colleague that he has been.

So — inspired by my dear friend Yvette — I got to work and started reaching out to those tied into his world — my mom, my brother, his friends, his colleagues, you name it — and I asked them to record a video of them sharing:

  • The way Olav — my dad — has touched or impacted their lives.
  • A moment or experience they want to say thank you for, and why.
  • Their favourite memory together with Olav.
  • And a bucket list experience they wish to do with him.

The response was overwhelming.

They shared the times that they had with Olav that made them smile, laugh and cry — but above all, they paid testament to his unwavering support and guidance.

Seeing my father’s reaction to all of his close and loved ones expressing their gratitude towards him was nothing short of priceless — but for me personally — the last statement on that list bore the most significance for my father to look forward to in his newfound retirement.

While he never missed a single important moment in my life — he has sacrificed an awful lot to get to where he is today — always on, available, working, travelling, resting, digesting and preparing for the next deal, trip or meeting.

As a result, he was often unable to truly enjoy the fruits of his labour — even, and perhaps especially when he reached the top of whatever proverbial mountain he was climbing at the time.

Because as soon as he got to the top, the next big thing would call for his attention — which took more of his time, energy and focus away from the already vague ideas that he had for things he deep down wanted to do.

And this is because of a phenomenon known as the Arrival Fallacy.

In simple terms, it’s the belief that we can only give ourselves permission to create time for the things that truly matter once we reach a particular goal or milestone.

As if the two can’t co-exist.

But as life has shown us time and time again, once we reach that milestone, the next one is already waiting for us around the corner — trapping us in a perpetual cycle of chasing and striving…

Which ultimately means that we never get to do the things that make life worth living.

But as life continues to prove to us — true contentment is found not only in the destination but in the entire journey.

Because here’s the thing:

Throughout my years, I’ve been hit with multiple reminders of how fragile, short and unpredictable life can be.

From my own near-fatal health crisis to the crossover of my two closest friends — I’ve experienced first-hand how life truly can end at any given moment.

I learned the hard way to make the most of the time that’s given to me.

That’s why I’ve built a business in support of the life I want to live, and not a life in support of my business so that I can be present for the people and things that matter to me.

And now that my dad has finally retired and we’re both healthy, free and able to afford it — we can finally seize the opportunity to fulfil a long-standing aspiration from our bucket list.

In fact, as you’re reading this, we’re cruising across the West Coast of the USA in a Ford Mustang — a dream in pursuit.

We’re out on the open road until the 20th of August, and for that time, all of my attention is going to be devoted to the journey so I can be as present in the moment as fundamentally possible.

No (more) pro content, no office-ing and limited to no response to DM’s.

Just me and my father creating memories that will last a lifetime.

I don’t share this story to brag about my life, but rather as a gentle reminder.

As you chase your dreams, and as you set your sights on the next big thing — remember:

Work hard, sure — but don’t forget to create, live and cherish the moments that truly matter.

Because at the end of the day, that’s the real essence of it all.

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© 2023 Jord Cuiper.