Can you close your eyes and remember your past? Is it easy to remember what happened last month, but not as easy to remember what happened last year?
According to research, what is commonly called memory is not a single, simple function. It is a complex system of different components and processes. There are at least three, and very likely more, distinct memory processes. Each process differs with respect to function, the form of information that is held, the length of time information is retained, and the amount of information-handling capacity.
Memories are precious commodities, not to be taken for granted. Over a period of time, we begin to lose bits and pieces of our memories. We often remember the larger information (perhaps the actual date, or who was there), but it’s easy to forget the smaller details. What your dress looked like on your 5th Christmas, or what you ate at your 12th Thanksgiving. There are many reasons why you can’t remember some of this information, including how interest you are in whatever it is, motivation to remember, age, health, and stress, among others.
This is why preserving those memories is important. Maybe you don’t really care what dress you wore at Christmas or what foods you ate at
Thanksgiving when you were 12. In that case, let it go. But for some, a simple image of that item can evoke a whole series of feelings.
Then there is your sense of smell. Have you ever been somewhere, and you catch a whiff of a familiar scent. Usually, you immediately remember what it reminds you of. Sometimes it’s a memory we might want to forget, such as that dreadful medicine you were served when you were a child. But more often than not, it’s a scent that takes us back to a time or place that we enjoy the memory of. Ever walked by an older man at the store, and caught a whiff of his cologne or after-shave? Did it remind you of your grandpa or someone else familiar to you?
These are memories that are special and unique. They are the memories that although you can’t capture every essence of, you can certainly remember things about the person.
The beautiful part of all of this is, that if you scrapbook and take pictures and make sure you are including journaling, your memory will improve. These details you are forgetting will be easily recalled.
One of my favorite memories is of a time where I stayed with my grandma to take care of her in high-school. There’s some very limited memories of that time, but then there are some things I remember. For instance, I remember having to make her coffee in a big huge thermos that my grandpa bought her because she couldn’t get out of bed to get refills. And I remember how she used to lay in that beautiful Antique Cherry wood Canopy bed (that she left me when she passed) and we would talk for hours.
What is your favorite memory? Tell me about it. And then afterwards, grab a pen or your computer and write. Write all the things you can remember about that memory. You’ll be amazed at what else is recalled and what other memories you can stir up in the process.
Just remember, memories are precious…preserve them!