I have the worst long-term memory. I can’t remember so much of my life. It’s kind of sad actually. I don’t know if it’s a normal part of life as an adult, if it’s the norm to forget because so many years build up, get foggy, blend together. Or if it’s just me. Probably both.
I think part of that is because I lived most of my life stuck in my head, thinking about the past, the future, resenting my circumstances, pitying myself, being overemotional. I think, maybe ironically, that how you remember something depends on how you’re living it in the moment.
I heard once that taking a picture of something actually increases your chances of misremembering the real-life event. At first I found that counterintuitive. I thought if you took a picture, you were making a deliberate effort to capture the memory, and every time you looked at the photo, you’d reinforce the memory. But no photograph is taken for the now. And I love a good photo, but the use of the present shouldn’t be undervalued as a means to an end. Even if what you’re doing is a step in a process, treat it like what it is, the only thing that exists right now, the present. Enjoy creating the shot and experimenting, hear the shutter close, examine and appreciate the light. Otherwise, the click of the camera is in vain, signaling a moment lost to the future.
The way to remember something is being totally connected to that moment. Not emotionally or mentally, but consciously. Embrace all facets of that moment in time, without relating it to circumstances, volatile emotions, the future, or the past. The way the wind is blowing your hair or the delayed sound of the fireworks, the feeling of the rain on your skin. That’s a strong memory. Not taking a camera out solely for the sake of a photo, automatically shifting from consciousness to unconsciousness, from the present to the future. By consciousness I mean your humanity, your source of life, your soul. By unconsciousness I mean your mind, which can only observe or think about the soul, removing you from your purest form.
A pure memory is stored in your being, not your mind. Your mind is a tool, a flawed one. But your being, the essence of your life, is perfect. It’s alive in every moment, never flagging. Don’t forget it.
The other side of this, not using these memories as anchors pulling you to the past, is for another day.