Very occasionally, I look at them. They bring back all sorts of memories of precious people, happy and sad times, places and projects. They remind me, too, of words and gestures that have communicated appreciation and a shared sense of achievement. The time someone marched up to me, looked me in the eye for a full 5 seconds said, 'Thank you,' and disappeared. The time one of the doctors I worked with said something so encouraging I've never forgotten it. The time someone looked round at an event and said, 'This is my idea of the Kingdom of God.'
I find that in the days around New Year I'm often drawn to this kind of reminiscing, possibly because early January tends to be one of the parts of my year when there is more time for reflection. My bit of advice to add to my elderly friend's is that as you go over these memories in your head, it's sometimes nice to write a card to someone who has meant a great deal to you and say, 'Just been remembering that time when .... Thank you.' It means perhaps even more to receive a message that someone still remembers a significant exchange years later. It colours the future more brightly with refreshed hope and maybe even renewed friendship.