Memory is a funny thing…

What we remember, what we don’t… How we remember something: are we sentimental, are we angry…what feelings to memories bring up?

I was slated today to write about the difference between memories and sentimentality. I’m pretty sure it was based on a blog that I penned a few months ago. I’d written something about how I’m not a particularly sentimental person. Objects don’t hold power for me: they are mainly tools used to accomplish something, thus I rarely have trouble cleaning out closets and drawers and purging things…

But I still remember things…

The blogs I’ve written the past few days are all ideas I had before I went to the emergency room. When I look at my planner I see the “before and after” of my thoughts and ideas. One day I was fine…one day I wasn’t…

My blog notes for this Thursday say “See March 15”, because I didn’t blog that day…My notes for next week hold similar messages…see March 16, 17…I look back to those days in my planner..my hopeful notes: Remember- buy ingredients for soda bread…make soda bread…buy new mop head…

I almost became sentimental about those days…it seemed so innocent…like my greatest care in the world was currants or raisins…

But then I became a little angry…

Looking back at my day in the ER has conjured up all sorts of memories and thoughts…

Why didn’t I take better care of myself? I admit that I don’t take my health as seriously as I should. maybe that’s a part of being mainly healthy for my whole life…You take it for granted…all these thoughts have bubbled up inside me the past few days…add to that the birthday which always makes me nostalgic…

Memory is a powerful tool…it can make you happy or sad, angry or scared as well as a bunch of other emotions…

What we choose to remember…

what we choose to forget…

If we live too much in our head, can we ever move forward? If I keep replaying those weeks in March, will I put myself in a downward spiral?

How do we learn to use our memories in a positive way? A way that doesn’t have us moving into the past, or thinking the past was better? How do we retain the good and the sweet things, how do we retain the things that make us stronger, without holding onto anger or wistfulness?

Our memories make us who we are, the good and the bad. We have to learn from the past without strapping ourselves down to it.

Remember. Learn. Move on.

42 thoughts on “I remember it well

  1. I wish I had a better memory. I’m glad I’ve kept diaries over the years. I am glad that I can forget the things that make me angry and move on. Your reminder about taking health for granted strikes a nerve for me.

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  2. Often our memories are altered depending on our current mood. The same memory can be good or bad depending. Conversely a negative memory can taint our current perceptions. Not picking at old wounds is very sound advice!

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  3. “I remember the days I prayed for what I have today”..one of my favorite all time quotes. It reminds me to take a breath, look around and gratefully acknowledge the existence of that which I once prayed for.. like going back to church, none of my kids getting Covid, the entire family getting vaccines in 2021. I move on too quickly..I don’t marinate long enough in answered prayers..I need to look back in order to remember them.

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    1. I wonder about this…do we keep repeating the past because we don’t learn from it? FYI I have a post coming up about whether or not we ever actually move forward, which I got from a comment you made ….so I’m thinking this over

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  4. Emotional muscle memory versus a zip code Zeitgeist…gonna rock on to… Existential Avenue…what? Me worry. The up and down self dialogue of L’esprit de l’escalier.

    We should have evolved into three legged creatures, long ago, given we seem to tap dance, simultaneously, through our past, present, and future.

    And now we choose to dosey doe this digital barn dance, and promenade by the primordial cave drawings of first generation personal data detritus.

    So there is to be a lot of before and after foreboding concerning the epochal changes we are making to the very concept of “personal” memories.

    Remember. Revisit. And Revamp.

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    1. It’s amazing to me how hard some memories hit you. I think I purposely don’t dwell because I don’t think I can handle bringing up too much stuff. I think I’m decent at learning from the past but need to face forward

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  5. I think it’s also because March is relatively recent so those memories are clear. The farther away it gets the memories of the day may get clouded and not cause the same reactions. I think it depends on how you want to live your life, angry and regretful or happy and hopeful. Journaling is so helpful to keep things in perspective.

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  6. Mmmm. Sage advice, my friend. I’ve been working on this very thing for a few years now. One concept I continue to reflect upon and am knowing as a truth for me more and more, is that all of what happened in my life happened just as it was supposed to. Therefore, yep, I have memories that make me happy, sad, anxious, and even angry at times. Accepting them all just as they are, is part of it I think. For me, that is part of living from the heart. Great post, LA.

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  7. Over the past few years, maybe because I have time now, all sorts of memories have popped into my head. Some have triggering events, others don’t. I can’t pretend to understand how our minds work, but emotion burns memories in our brains. As time passes, and perhaps as we revise them a bit, we can gain perspective. But those emotions may still be lurking about

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  8. There are a number of things I would forget if I could. I try to dismiss them when they pop up and not let them take over more than five minutes of my life. These days I spend a bit of time trying to remember names. Usually the one I want comes up in 1 to 24 hours.

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  9. When I read books with beautiful, descriptive memories (e.g. Prologue/Chapter I of my current read, A Severe Mercy), I wonder “Why don’t I remember all of those beautiful details?” Instead I remember snippets of traumatic events; I am just grateful I don’t remember more of the bad things. I do like to pay attention to the prompts for my memories; I think that produces interesting reflections on how the brain works.

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    1. The brain is a wonderful and scary thing…I read in a book recently (I will blog about it) an author who spends a few hours each day writing down the memories of every thing he did that day with as much description as possible…he’s won awards…so I guess that’s something….maybe…

      Like

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