”Something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it.”
I should be doing all kinds of creative, useful or productive things right now – instead, I am reminiscing about times both good and bad, reflecting on the qualities and uncertainties of the human memory. Our memory is a very fickle, unreliable thing. We can rarely be sure that what we remember is the truth, and who knows how much of our lives have been lost to us because it is unremembered?
Memory is like a muscle – it needs to be exercised and it can be trained and built up. Our capacity for remembering is really quite extraordinary, but most of us only use a fraction of our full potential. Of course, few of us have the need to memorize long poems, strings of numbers, or the order of a deck of cards or ten, but be honest – aren’t there things you wished you could remember better? Sure, there are things we want to forget, but there are techniques for changing bad memories into better ones as well. I think we owe it to our future selves to take better care of our memory – nurse it, work with it, pamper it a bit – and in return, hopefully, it will take care of us and let us remember the best of our short lives.
Rest assured, the best parts will not always be the good, happy, easy moments of life; the best parts can just as well be dark, painful and sad. Lessons learned, farewells spoken, hearts broken – these can be some of the most valuable moments of our existence. As I sit here and think back on the brightest days and the darkest nights of my life, my only regret is that I do not remember everything as well as I want to. There are things lost to me, and memories that stay just at the very edge of my reach, their details elusive even though I know the broad strokes. I m who I am today thanks to my memory. It’s the thing that builds me and creates me. Without it, what would I be? Still myself in a way, I’m sure – but less. I like who I am and where I am, but I think I shall make an effort to be more; remember more. Live more.
After all, shouldn’t we be living a life worth remembering?
- Read – The Dice Man; Luke Rhinehart
- Watch – Californication; Tom Kapinos
- Listen – Don’t Let Us Get Sick; Warren Zevon