It’s got to that time in my life where I feel the need to write a bucket list. There is this really interesting website that suggests you do 101 things in 1001 days. I was clicking through this website, looking for inspiration for what things to add to my list, when one of the top things was answer a load of life affirming questions that would “set your mind free”.
This caught my attention because it sounded
- odd/emo and therefore
- something to have a right laugh at
And I was not disappointed. Some of the questions are downright ridiculous, for example “if you didn’t know your age, how old would you say you was?” (I’ve been about 40 since I was 14).
Sadly in my quest for jest, I was actually stumped by some of them. One in particular has been rattling about in my head for some time, one I wish to elaborate on now.
Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
This comes down to two things. Choosing between who you are or who you could be. Everything we are up to this moment is a culmination of memories that shapes our personality. The slightest memory of an action from years past could effect who we are now, how we act, and how we treat people in the present day. Could you give up who you are, for who you could be?
Its not just your sense of self that you would have to compromised, but people from your past. From long lost friends whom you no longer speak to, to juvenile private jokes you and your closest form.
One memory of mine that stuck out, and I have no idea why, was my first kiss in the rain. It was at Reading Festival. I was watching the Kaiser Chiefs when this sweet man got chatting to me. He was shy, tall and handsome. After the headline finished it started to rain and he walked me back to my tent. As the heavens opened, we stood outside the camp. He brushed my wet hair out of my eyes, lent in and gently kissed me. Then we said goodbye and I never saw him again. It’s just an innocent memory I have, among hundreds of other little snap shots of my past. Like a useless piece of junk you have in your room that you had acquired years ago, and for some stupid sentimental reason you hold onto it. The idea of losing something as inconsequential as the memory of my first kiss in the rain, to a man whose name I can’t even remember, made my stomach turn.
It’s not just the silly small memories. It is also the big memories. People you have loved and have loved you in return. The people no longer with us. If you could no longer remember them, they would no longer exist for you. Everything you have connected with them would be lost in the sea of the past. It was this thought that I could not shake. People who are no longer here seem so real to us because we can travel to that special place where they still exist. Because in the land of the past these people are still alive and with us. If it were not for our memories of them, they would disappear entirely. Memories are all we have left of them. In the minds eye it will always be that perfect sunny day you spent with them, not having a care in the world. Give up my memories? It would be easier to live without lungs.
Of course, there is an appeal to forgetting the past. The memory of someone is like a double edge knife. You remember them, but you also remember the pain of losing them. All those bad memories, all those harrowing experiences, traumas that pierce your soul, yeah sure, they would no longer be there. But even these horrific memories have some effect on who we are. I wouldn’t trade a plethora of bad memories for one single good one. Let alone my entire history.
So by the sounds of it I would hold on to my past right? Give up all those days that could be, so long as I have my recollections. But to not make new memories is to be stuck in the past. Frozen as the person I am now. Who is to say what I will be in the future. The future is a vast strange place, full of wonderful and terrible things. Why would I give that up for an unmoving, never changing present? Living this same day over and over again, not being able to make new memories? Reading a new book would be a nightmare.
Say I meet my soul mate; I’ll never remember our first kiss. I would have no idea what our wedding was like, if the best man mucked up the speech, who caught my bouquet, did I get the ice cream cake or go traditional? What must it be like to wake up each day, and not recognise the face of your children.
I hope you were not looking for an answer
I’m ashamed to admit I worked myself up overanalysing this question. It really hit me how distressing it must be, to lose your memories, to not know who you are. Every inch of heart goes out to people who suffer with altisimers, unable to remember who they are, or form new memories, a truly merciless disease. My thoughts are not just with those that suffer with it, but those that have to watch their loved ones slip away from them.
So after all this, which one would I choose? I have a thousands memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have another thousand I haven’t formed yet, which are as dear to me as any of the memories I have now. The great unknown? Or everything that makes me who I am?
Nope. Still haven’t got an answer. And I’m okay with that.
Join our tribe
We promise to pop a whole host of good stuff into your inbox every Wednesday to brighten up your week. Can't say fairer than that now can we?