Everyone (well, perhaps not quite everyone) remarks on my memory. It seems to work like a sponge. It perhaps leaks a little and the memories become a bit jumbled, but on the whole it works well.
Today’s prompt requires me to delve into it. Good memories include happy holidays and days’ out, precious moments (when events occurred unexpectedly and led to a sense that someone had been “sent”), art, music or natural beauty enjoyed, lectures by acclaimed scientists, time spent with family and friends.
Memory is a strange thing. Two people recalling the same event will often remember it differently. Their disagreements may be significant. How memory works is unclear (at least to me). We are supposed to have a long-term memory and a short term memory. Somehow the short-term memory looks after such questions as where we last saw our keys, our shopping list or whatever. Our long-term memory (in theory) stores information for a life-time.
I mostly think about recent memories. The day out I enjoyed last week, a chance encounter yesterday evening, which will hopefully lead to an item of school uniform being reunited with its owner, encouraging interactions over the internet are fresh in my mind. I am thankful for them.
Memories from longer ago need to be prompted. Although I am writing my memoirs (rather more slowly than I intended) I do not spend much time thinking about what has happened in the past. Certain events stand out from others. When I have allowed a particular memory to rise to the top of the stack it seems to remain there until something else becomes more relevant and displaces it.
Recently having our bathroom carpet laid and watching a very seriously ill friend lovingly paint her son’s house have surfaced in my memory. It is important to remember what has happened in the past. Presumably the prompt is a reference to Memorial Day in the United States. In the UK we have Remembrance Day in November.
I like my memories to be accurate. My hand-written journal is only updated every few days. Sometimes I cannot remember exactly what I did the week before last. It can be helpful to be able to look back and see when certain events occurred.
Certain moments seem to be etched in my memory for ever. Others have gone. The lasting ones are from times, when I perhaps experienced something more deeply or observed something which seemed important. There are some moments from decades ago I can visualise as clearly as if they happened yesterday.
Look back and give thanks; look forward and take courage.
was written in my autograph book by a teacher about half a century ago.
Do I really have to choose between recent and older good memories? Can I not just look back and give thanks?
Which good memories are better — the recent and vivid ones, or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?