Friday, March 27, 2009

As Pumba said...

"You've gotta put your behind in the past."

I had a very neat/odd experience a couple weeks back. I was perusing the facebook pages of some friends and saw a comment from a childhood friend of mine on another friend's page. At the time, I wasn't "FB friends" with the childhood friend, but I immediately sent her a friend request. Shortly after that, another childhood friend added me as a friend. On that day, so many memories started rushing through my mind, it was like someone had just opened the floodgates as old emotions and experiences came pouring out. So many things I hadn't thought about in 20 years. I was amazed that they were even still in my brain somewhere.

I don't know how other people remember their past, but I do know that for me, most of my experiences as a child and teenager are pretty fuzzy. I tend to remember them about the same as I remember movies that I've watched--often the emotion of the situation is not really there and I don't remember a lot of specifics. I wish I remembered a lot of the experiences more vividly, but I don't. I've wondered if part of it is that when I left for college I was really ready for a new start. I'd had a pretty great life up to that point, but hadn't really felt like I had discovered who I really was. I was ready to leave a lot of the old me (at least the me that had developed during adolescence) behind and become who I was truly meant to be. I think perhaps this conscious separation from my former self might have severed some of the connection to a lot of the memories. Plus, after leaving my hometown to come to BYU, I never returned for more than a week or so at a time, so I didn't have much chance to remind myself of the past. One time I went home, probably about 6 years after I'd left and I went to my old high school just to walk around. I felt so many old emotions and feelings come over me that it was almost frightening! It was certainly unnerving to have those thoughts and feelings come up unbidden.

Well, I've strayed from my original intent, which was to somehow address the uniqueness of experience and how we really do live in isolated realities, but this is getting somewhat lengthy so perhaps I'll save those thoughts for another day. But I am curious if anyone cares to share what memories are like for them and how vivid they are. I hope that in the next life we'll easily be able to recall our favorite experiences and get to feel the thrill again of some of the best days from various times in life.


3in3mom said...


I too live memories very vividly at times. When an old friend of mine from more than 20 years ago found me I was sure shocked I didn't think I remembered that far, or even that she would. Since that time I have remembered more about that time, but still very little. I am often shocked that I can even remember anything. Then there are high school memories, ones I thought I'd never forget that I have and am kinda glad about. Though there are friends like you that I remember so vividly from certain classes or other events and their lives have evolved so much that the old person I once knew makes the old memories change.

Now as a mother I live through photos a lot. I have always taken a lot of photos cause I love them. I see the world in pictures. So I see my kids finding their memories nearly the same way--through the many pictures of our family's life.

I have never been back to M high. Perhaps it's because I want to keep the memories the memories and not flood it with the weirdness of what it may be today. My family and I are planning a trip to my prehighschool stomping grounds--I wonder what memories may come there.

Anyway, long story short, I do think a lot about memories as well.

Ang said...

Hey, M! Interesting post. I've been thinking about memories (and memory) a lot lately, mostly along the lines of, "At this rate, I'll be able to play practical jokes on myself in the next couple of years!"

Most memories for me are so vague unless I actively relive the specifics, through pictures, "recollective" conversations, or visits like yours to the old highschool. Most things, to be honest, I know happened but can't actively remember. It's one of the main reasons I blog - even if I don't print/archive my blog like I plan to, just writing good memories, reliving them one more time, makes it more likely something will stick with me.

Then there are the odd memories that stick around, sometimes for no discernable reason. For example, I very vividly remember one of the last times you and I got together in our hometown. I think you'd come back from college, and we were at your house making brownies when you told me (us? I feel like someone else was there, too) that you'd gone vegetarian. Apparently that was pretty traumatizing. :) I didn't see it coming, and it was when I realized that you really had changed. I think I've admired and slightly envied the ability to intentionally, suddenly, make such a significant transformation.

Amy said...

Hey Mindy! This is Amy, I've gone to the PALMS discussions a couple of times, but I actually found your blog a long time ago on the TJEd consortium website (or it might have been through someone else's blog). Anway, I just wanted to say hi!

I had a very similar experience when I went off to college. I put the past behind me and wanted to become the person I was meant to be. I wasn't able to visit home very often either. I have a horrible memory, and maybe that is part of it! My husband, on the other hand, has an amazing memory! He remembers all sorts of details from his childhood. I have been really grateful for my journals and for pictures, I honestly don't know how much I would remember with out those things!

Debra said...

I don't know why I find your question so difficult to answer. Probably because my memories vary in intensity. As I get older I do find that the details fade. I'm left more with the emotion of times past. I can remember how it felt to look out the window at a rainy day in Washington after school. That has a distinct emotion. I remember playing in the orchard with my sister. That has a different distinct emotion tied to it. More and more that's what I'm left with.

mindy said...

I wanted to tell all of you thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. It's such an interesting thing to ponder. And C, I definitely agree with you about taking pictures. I'm so grateful for the pictures of the kids that I have, as they really do cement the memories a little better for me.

Amy, good to "see" you! Thanks for commenting.

Ang, sorry my going veg was so traumatic! ;o) Maybe it will be healing for you to know that David and I have found a good middle ground by eating fish on occasion!