If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time………….

WordPress Krista asked today: “If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of your life would you return to? Why?”

First memory: Second year university. Early Monday morning. I just returned to my dorm room from spending Sunday at home with my family and eating a wonderful dinner. It was 5 a.m. and I nestled fully clothed under my covers after taking care not to wake up my roommate. I was totally caught up in my school work, I had lots of friends, I liked my boyfriend at the time (he did not smother me), and all was right with the world. I want all to be right with the world again.

Second memory: The night I met my husband at a dance in the spring of 1980. We have been together ever since.

Third and Fourth memories: When I found out that my sons (one born premature in 1986 weighing 2 pounds 51/2 ounces and the other in 1991 at 3 pounds 5 ounces) were going to live healthy “normal” lives.

I am not sure I would return to these times to relive them, but they live on in my memory forever.

Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm  Comments (12)  
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You’ve Got to Know When To Hold ‘Em; Know When To Fold ‘Em

7 playing cards

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My weekly newspaper column for your reading pleasure (I hope):

 

“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all…Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.” ~ Luis Buñuel

 

            Memory is precious but unreliable. And while I think Bunuel has a valid point in saying that “Life without memory is no life at all”, I believe that sometimes it is those things that we forget that help us live coherently, with reason, feeling, and the ability to take action.

            We are inundated with many images on television, in newspapers, magazines, and on the internet that are not

so this is christmas

so this is christmas (Photo credit: mumucs)

necessarily things we want to bank in our memories. A favourite Christmas song of mine, “So This is Christmas” by John Lennon has been forever altered for me as it is being used in an advertisement accompanied by images of children in great and desperate need. Though the words do lend themselves to the message, the message is one of despair. I know that it is supposed to make me want to send money to help, but instead every time I hear the opening notes, I turn the channel. I am not heartless—I have “adopted” kids from other nations that need help and I give a monthly donation to the Red Cross, but I do not need to be reminded to be “good” in a way that makes me feel “bad”.

            One of the definitions of forgetting is to “put behind you”. And I think that having this ability is a very useful tool to deal with life when it gets just that little bit too demanding. We can only take on so much, then our cup overfloweth, and we become overwhelmed.

I was given a piece of paper with these words at the top: “Drying Out the Responsibility Sponge”. The person who gave it to me was not sure of its origins, but she remembered that I had said that I am like a sponge, taking in the things that go on around me detrimentally—as if the problems of the world were my problems when in actuality I was not dealing with those things that were within my power because I was waterlogged with the enormity of situations out of my control.

            A Google search revealed that the words are from “The Woman’s Book of Courage: Meditations for Empowerment and Peace of Mind” by Sue Patton Thoele. They target women, but I do not think that women are the only ones who take on mantles of responsibility that are too heavy. The ending of the essay says it all: “We need to be patient and gentle with ourselves as we dry our sponges (of responsibility), for the belief that we are responsible for everything is woven deeply into the fabric of our lives.” We need to put behind us all those things that are separating us from living a life with worthwhile memories.

            The cold factual definition of memory is simple—according to the Encarta Dictionary it is “the ability of the mind or of a person or organism to retain learned information and knowledge of past events and experiences and to retrieve that information and knowledge.” To me the kernel of knowledge that should be taken from this definition is that we should learn from our memories and use that data to forge forward and not dive into the depths of despair from past indiscretions, grief, revenge, and heartache.

            Many of us (me) suffer gladly from revisionist history—we remember the good things, and try to put the other stuff behind us. I believe we should learn from our errors and failures, feel our grief, seek fair retribution, but then “just let it go”.  (Believe me, I know how hard that is).

            The simple statement that “life is not fair” is true sometimes, but admit it, sometimes life is fair. And those are the times we should grasp and hold onto with all our strength.

            Session is over—okay Kenny take over—“You got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run…”

P.S. I had my husband read this and he said it was very thoughtful, so if you don’t like it you can blame him, but remember he has to eat the food I prepare so I think he measures his words.

Later in the day….a slower thought

English: Lascaux Caves - Prehistoric Paintings...

English: Lascaux Caves – Prehistoric Paintings. . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turned down the corner of the page for this quote so it is not so random, but it is also from Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas. I find it to be truer than true–and that truth comes to light especially when you share a memory with someone who was at the same event and find out, quite by surprise, that you remember the same thing differently:

“Memory seems to be an independent creature inspired by event, not faithful to it. Maybe memory is what the mind does with its free time, decorating itself. Maybe it’s like cave paintings. The thing is, I’m old enough now to know that the past is every bit as unpredictable as the future, and the memory, mine anyway, is not a faithful record of anything, and truth is not an absolute.”

Do you find that your memory decorates itself and is not necessarily true to the event?

Published in: on September 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm  Comments (12)  
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Freaky

English: Ray Bradbury's signature

English: Ray Bradbury’s signature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“For I am that special freak, the man with the child inside who remembers all. I remember the day and the hour I was born.”  ~ Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

What is the first thing you remember? The first thing I remember is the birth of my younger sister when I was three. Not my own birth. Thank goodness!

Published in: on July 12, 2013 at 9:56 am  Comments (24)  
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Memories

Cover of "Thinking About Memoir (AARP)"

Cover of Thinking About Memoir (AARP)

Memories: recollections, reminiscences, remembrances. So many of us have been talking about our memories of Christmas past,  but do we trust our memories? Are they faithful to what really happened, or coloured by our particular rose-coloured glasses or half empty attitudes?

Abigail Thomas says this about memories in her book, “Thinking About Memoir”: “Memory seems to be an independent creature inspired by event, not faithful to it. Maybe memory is what the mind does with its free time, decorating itself. Maybe it’s like cave paintings. The thing is, I’m old enough now to know that the past is every bit as unpredictable as the future, and that memory, mine anyway, is not a faithful record of anything, and truth is not an absolute.”

Ms. Thomas describes the way I remember things. I know this because when I talk to my siblings about events that took place in our collective childhoods, we all remember things differently. I remember details that they did not notice and they remember things I do not. Sometimes it seems we were not even  at the same event, but we were all there. Of course, I think I am right—but I am not. My memories are tinted by my personality and by what I want to remember.

Maybe Memories

Maybe Memories (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being in the same place at the same time and having a totally different recollection of the event is not all that surprising. Perception affects memory, altering it from the truth to perhaps something more palatable.

What do you think?

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 3:07 am  Comments (53)  
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Day 25 ~ 200 Words

This is the last entry of my 200 word challenge. I may miss it. I may not.

I Remember When I Was Young

I Remember When I Was Young (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cannot remember my student number. Little wonder, as it has been over three decades since I last used it. But for years I knew it. It was my student identification at university. Though it was just a number, it was my number.

I seem to have forgotten whole portions of my life. It is like grades two and three did not happen. And it is as if I was never young. Or maybe, truth be told, I never grew up.

I seem to be forgetting more and more things these days. I remember when I was dating my husband 32 years ago, a woman I came into contact with quite frequently could never seem to remember my name. I was insulted at the thought that  I was not memorable. Now, I am that woman. I am about her age now, and I have forgiven her.

Sometimes we notice things that we attribute to age that perhaps we have done all our lives. Maybe I never really was good at remembering certain things.

Published in: on July 31, 2012 at 12:17 am  Comments (23)  
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