Memories is too profound and delicate of a topic to delve into too deeply, at least by this humble blog writer. But I can’t help spew forth a few grainy, shallow thoughts.
Last October, when I met the gaggle of guys I hadn’t seen for decades, the conversations were mostly about “remember when blah blah blah.” Those kinds of stories are always good for a few laughs, usually. And laughing is good. As long as they don’t happen too often, scrolling backwards into the memory banks and dredging up comical or classic situations has good entertainment value.
The point is, as long as we don’t live in the past, pulling up smiling memories once is a
while intrinsically is a good thing. My friend from California sent me this photo last week from one of our many motorcycle trips out West. He said simply “keep the faith.” It was nice to smile for a second and remember all the great riding times — and wanting reproduce the moments.
And it is always nice smiling when I watch the short clip a took a few short years ago when all this throat stuff was brewing.
Or before starting our cross country CtoL Epic in 2009 at PI’s home in Chicago.
A couple of posts ago I mentioned brother P (not PI) and a trip with him around Iceland. Prior to the trip, P called me to tell me he was sending me his camera. At the time, it was a top of the line Minolta complete with wide angle and telephoto lenses. He said he was finished wasting time trying to get good pictures when he could be taking them with his mind’s eye. Although it’s a little bit tough to share your mind’s eye, the payback is certainly a tad more freedom.
Maybe I should have done the same thing by not taking photos during the therapy last year. While playing music on the apple tv, my photo album scrolls. There are photos from radiation, the stomach tube, the operation from last year showing 14 bundled wires protruding from under my chin like a metal beard. Why am I keeping those? They don’t bring back good memories. Delete.
Remembering pain can be useful if we are using that information to avoid a future pain, or for analytical purposes, or for teaching. But remembering stuff just for remembering stuff takes away valuable and precious present time. We can’t live back there. But like everything in life, it’s all about balance. We also don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time organizing and preparing for future moments.
On the other hand, remembering stuff helps us define, feel and know (as if we didn’t) who we are, and may even help us mold our future selves.
My sister S, has taken remembering stuff to a whole new level. She said something a couple of months ago that is somewhat sobering. Within two generations after we die, everything about us is completely forgotten and non-existent in the memories of current generations. In other words, we may remember things about our grandparents, but we know nothing about their parents. It’s as if they never existed.
When some of us met during the Thanksgiving holiday at P&M’s home, we asked dear mom to tell us some stories of what it was like when she was growing up. She didn’t go into great detail, but what she did tell us was very interesting. They were stories new to us. I think everyone sitting around the table was eager to hear what it was like 60 & 70 years ago. And we wanted to hear more.
Sister S has developed a very creative idea for preserving history in a more real and vivid way. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to see real footage of history as our family remembered? S has made it her business. It’s not like we are remembering any of this stuff because remembering is separated from history by a lifetime.
We all have moments we like to remember. And forget. And moments we’d like to remember that we’ve forgotten.
But maybe bro P had it right. Take those mind pics, the kind you focus on to get the right aperture, light and background. You are then focusing on valuable pictures. It then might be worth remembering stuff, as long as there is no anxiety in the stuff being remembered.
Where am I going with this? If I read back, I might remember. But really, it’s all just stuff.
P.S. and don’t go asking any spaghettios to remember birthdays, important dates, or other purgeable prone stuff.