I have a really good memory – so ironic, since I lost my Dad to early-onset Alzheimer’s, and lived my entire adult life watching my beloved father lose his memory, and then his mind. If you were to ask pretty much anyone that knows me, they will undoubtedly comment on my memory, and how I have one of the better ones they’ve seen. I’m not bragging about this, just stating a fact – it is what it is. I don’t do a whole lot to tend to this skill of mine (although I probably should, just to make sure that I don’t lose it)…and it’s only recently that I’ve accepted the fact that this is a skill, and even, perhaps a gift – I’ve always thought it was a curse.
When I have said that to people, they look at me incredulously and think I’m nuts – surely a memory like mine must be every sort of awesome!! In some ways, it is – I’m pretty good at Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, and I generally do decently on tests that require simple recall of facts. However, with this memory of mine comes the other side of the coin…I don’t usually forget anything that has been said to me, good or bad. If you called me a bitch and an asshole in 1987, I will remember that – and I will remember where we were when we spoke, the context of the conversation, what we were wearing (and what we ate, if this transpired over food)…and I will remember precisely how your words made me feel. That can be a whole lot of heavy to carry around, don’t you think?
On the other hand, I remember the first time you told me something nice, the sweet nothings that have been whispered into my ears…I remember how happy I felt the first time we met. 🙂 I remember precisely how it felt the day I became a Mommy to the world’s sweetest wee girl – and my whole life changed forever. I remember sitting in Dr. Fred Drew’s Education Foundations class in the fall of 1991, my first class in the Faculty of Education – and my first steps down the path to this career of mine…sitting, looking around the room and listening to everybody’s answers to his questions about what we envision ourselves becoming someday – and I remember his face when I told him that someday I would be Dr. Leanna, PhD (me being me – I pronounced it Fud, because I can’t ever take myself too seriously). He looked annoyed at my feeble attempt at humor, and he appeared more likely to believe that I was going to shoot wooden nickels out my arse than to have that ever happen. NOTE TO SELF: When I finish my Doctorate next spring, photocopy my diploma and pop it in the mail to Dr. Drew…with a note attached reminding him of this conversation. 🙂 I remember everything – the good, the bad, and most certainly the ugly. I have so many things that I wish I could forget, but perhaps that is my curse…with the good, the bad must also be there – the challenge lies in not letting the bad consume me, and keeping it on a short leash.
What makes a memory for you? When I remember good times, I generally remember the context of the day – the weather, what I was wearing, the sights I saw, and the things I smelled (I always have wondered if everyone’s memory of smell is as vivid as mine – I should do some research on that). When I wake each morning, I believe in setting out purposefully, intent on making a memory – hopefully a good one. I have so many great things happen to me in a regular week – for example, this past week saw the beginning of the new school year, which is always an exciting time; I had a couple of fabulous meals out (woohoo! food!!!); I saw a great movie (‘The Spectacular Now’ – love!); and I had some really happy times with my Wee One, reminding myself of what is important in this life. I have noticed that so many of us complain bitterly all the damn time about all that is wrong with our lives, and I don’t know about you, but I just can’t take that anymore. Instead of complaining about what is wrong, I am going to spend my days celebrating all that is right with mine – don’t worry, I won’t become one of those incessant whingebags carrying on and on about how great their life is (you know the ones who post every bloody detail of their awesome life on Facebook, as if they are trying to convince somebody – probably themselves – how great their life is? Hate those people.)…but instead of griping about the shittastic traffic that almost made me late getting home from work, I’m going to try chirping with happiness about the great things that were on the radio in the car that I sang along to. I’m not going to complain about all of the work that is sitting on my desk waiting to be completed – rather, I’m going to be super-duper excited that I have such a great job that keeps me busy and off the streets all day. It’s all in the way you look at things, friends…and I can’t speak for you, but I think I could use an adjustment in the way I see things. Are you in? 🙂
I’ve started reading the Gabrielle Bernstein book “May Cause Miracles”, and while I’ve always been somewhat skeptical of this whole ‘spiritual journey’ thing, I think I need to get the hell over myself and get on board. I’m a person who has spent the bulk of my life searching for something, or someone – when what I have been seeking has probably been within me all along. I need to stop feeling stupid and self-conscious about the idea of this and embrace the philosophies, do the affirmations every day – I need to do the work, put in the time, and focus on myself. If I can open my mind and my heart to this, can you imagine what beautiful memories I could make???! 🙂
One final really great thing about having a memory like mine is that my head is full of some really beautiful life moments – I remember all of the best things that have ever happened to me in technicolor detail, and I can relive them over and over again, whenever I want. At night, if I feel sad or alone – instead of popping in a movie, I can sit down with my memories of happy times, reliving every glorious second of them, and feeling the same magical feelings that I had in the first place wash over me again. It’s gorgeous. 🙂 I really need to stop complaining about the memory and embrace it, realizing just how bloody lucky I am…who wouldn’t want to surround themselves with happy any time they want? 🙂