Does it make us up? Like collected molecules or building blocks that we slowly stack together throughout our life?

Sometimes memories slip away into the ever growing distance in time between past and present. They fade, and sometimes diminish in importance as new ones take their place.

Maybe memory is just a collection of ideas, values, and learning’s that we draw on for the rest of our lives. Maybe they’re a whole bunch of different voices, each grown from a different moment in our life, that speak to us in our heads when we make our decisions. These voices would be the aftereffect of experience.

Sometimes, stupidly, we ignore those voices. And we make drastic or impulsive choices. And afterwards we think, why didn’t I think before I did that? But maybe a more accurate statement would be why didn’t I listen to my voices? Or specifically, why didn’t I trust my experiences?

Maybe it’s a drifted off memory from long ago of going on a rollercoaster. Maybe they just aren’t your thing. But in the present your friends are telling you to go on it, and the exhilaration of the moment pushes you to try it again. Despite the fact that there is that nagging voice in the back of your brain reminding you that you don’t like rollercoasters, you go anyways. So you go on one, and you hate it. And you think, I knew I didn’t like rollercoasters, so why did I just do that? Why didn’t I think?

But what would happen if all of those voices were erased. Or at least, a large population of them were. What would happen, if the last five years of your life simply disappeared. Time didn’t, you’re still the age you are now and you still technically experienced every moment of those five years, but they simply appear to you to have never happened. Would you be the same person? What knowledge or life experience would be stripped from your personality?

I’d be the equivalent of a 14-year-old girl, scared of people she didn’t know, and about to start in my second year of university. Not the much more sociable 19 year old who knows how to live on her own, and talk to strangers. (At least ones in safe settings like classrooms)

My point, and my question put simply is: what is memory? And what are we without it?

If we realize that we would lose a huge section of who we are by forgetting those five years, regardless of actual lived experience, then memory is probably a pretty pivotal part of us. A significant chunk of our person.

Knowing that, and knowing that realistically, or at least probably, we’re not about to lose the last five years of our memory, what do we then gain from this knowledge of the importance of memory?

Maybe what it means is that we should focus on making the best memories going forward for the next five. If memories are that important to the person, we should take care in creating and remembering the absolute most incredible, life altering, and mind changing memories from here on out.

In five years, would you like to remember that you spent a lot of that time on the couch? Or that you ate a lot of pasta because it was easy and quick? Or would you like to instead remember concerts and baseball games and karaoke nights and cafés and restaurants, and cooking food for the taste and enjoyment of the meal?

We may not be able to ensure an accurate or lengthy log of memories. But we can make them as memorable as possible, and hope that we won’t suffer a random bout of amnesia that will steal these precious experiences from us. We all focus on the amount of time we’re given, but what’s time without memory?

We’re all a product of our own experiences in that they become our memories. And it’s memories that we should have forever. Whereas experiences are quick and fleeting. Some of us have had 10, 20, 40, or 80 years to accumulate those experiences. I would like, in my life, to focus on creating those personality-inspiring memories.

I may not understand what memory is, or perhaps how it affects me day to day. But maybe all I need to know is to not waste the chance to make a great one. And I guess that’s as good an answer as I’m going to get.

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