Memories. One of my favourite pastimes. Making them, remembering them, laughing and smiling about them. It brings me so much joy to take my mind back to the places I hold close to my heart, to be there again, to remember how I felt at that exact moment in time, to relive it in my mind, sometimes looking back in hindsight but more often, looking back with love.
Memories are always something I’ve always been interested in, something that has always fascinated me, how we remember things, why we remember things, and why we only remember some things. After listening to several podcasts of late by memory guru, Jim Kwik, his research suggests that we will more so remember things in life that we have an emotional connection to (which is why Hubby always forgets milk when he’s asked!), and therefore these are the things, the times, the places, the people that will stay with us in heart and mind, always.
Theory suggests that one’s personality is supported by the construction of life stories based on autobiographical memory, hence why sometimes we see those with an unhappy upbringing remain unhappy in later life due to the memories they have of that time, and visa versa, others with a happy childhood may well continue to live in that frame of mind as an adult. Research also suggests that memories we keep are an extension of our self, including possessions we keep, something I am very guilty of! Newspaper clippings, thousands upon thousands of photographs, past birthday and celebratory cards, certificates, all the things I have collected over the years which to be fair, mean nothing to anyone, bar me. Furthermore, possessions of the deceased like those of my Mother’s which I’ve kept can be powerful remains of their own self-identities, possibly why we, as the living hold them so dear, to remember them by, to remember the person they were.
Going back to the childhood comment, Tuesday I took a trip down memory lane to my Primary school, which I attended between 1987 -1991, which will be closing its doors this week, and boy did it take me back! It was a very happy time in my life, I had a good set of friends, I loved school, home life was happy and I have very vivid memories of the time I spent there, and those I shared that time with.
Seeing the steps leading to the yard and our school hall and classrooms, which now look tiny, brought it all flooding back complete with tears. As I sat there with 2 of my friends, whom I still often speak with (albeit on Facebook!) and 3 of my old teachers, we chatted, laughed at the photos I took with me, and joked about all the memories we had, lots of which we all remembered the same way, so I guess we must all be emotionally connected to them still to remember them so well.
Last night before bed I pondered who I am now compared to who I was in that 1989 photo of me heading off on my first school trip with my friends, away from my home and family for the first time. I don’t remember how I felt leaving but I do remember how excited I was to be going and it makes me smile when I look back now at the photographs I took, remembering when I asked my Mother for a camera to take with me and she showed me how to use it – Clearly just as obsessed with photography and capturing memories back then as I am today.
Thinking also of my Mother before bed, I also pondered how I’ve changed since she’s gone. Who was I prior to her death, who was I at the time, and how have I changed since? Would I be any different if she was still here? One question I’ll never know the answer to.
Memories are a funny thing. A smell, a song, a photograph, they can take us right back to that time as if we were there today. Am I the person I planned on being all those years ago? Probably not, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but what I do know is that memories are there for the making, for the keeping and for the treasuring. What means nothing to someone, is a lifetime memory to someone else and no one can ever take those away from you.
Going back to that school 27 years after I left was fantastic, and to stand in that yard reminiscing of all those fun times with my friends was an amazing feeling. Time definitely does go too fast, whether you’re having fun or not, and we just need to live it a little slower and take it all in, and remember it… always.