Memories. We each have so many. They, by their very definition, are all personal to us. Even if we try to share them, we can never get across to another person exactly what that memory means to us or how it might have shaped our subsequent life.
I have been sharing memories recently on facebook. Many of my facebook friends are people that I haven’t seen for 20 or even 30 years but at some point in the past our paths have crossed. And as a result we have shared experiences, although I have to admit to some of them being a little hazy. My memories are precious to me. I am forward looking by nature and always excited about the future but I am also terribly nostalgic which is why sites like facebook appeal to me.
It’s not all trips down Memory Lane but every so often someone will start something that leads us in that direction. The most recent case in point was a party in the summer of 1983. I was 16, the others slightly older and we all remember different things for different reasons. I love that. A shared experience that isn’t really shared at all. It fascinates me that several people can all share an event and yet take different things away from it to carry around with them for the rest of their lives. And, because we cannot get inside someone’s head and never really know what is important to them, we will never really know which parts anyone remembers.
But it’s not just a name from the past that can trigger memories. The smell of buddleia takes me straight back to my grandfather’s house in Suffolk. Raspberries do it for my maternal grandparents and like most people I only need to hear the opening chords of lots of records to be whisked back to my childhood. Sometimes triggers make me cry although there is nothing sad about the memories. I don’t know why that happens – I suspect it to be the knowledge that those kind of moments can never be recaptured.
I have a friend who won’t look back at all. They have no interest in old photos, no desire to revisit important moments in the past. They say that they have no need for that stuff and that life is all about the future but I disagree. My life is so much richer for all the memories that I possess and if I can share them with the people to whom they are also special then that enhances my memory and makes it more relevant to what is going on in my life today.
My day to day memory is, of course, shot. My brain is so crammed with the trivialities of everyday life that it off loads what it doesn’t need almost immediately. But I love the thought that the special moments of today will be the precious memories of the future, preserved forever and that I will be able to discuss them with those that share them in the future and smile.