Mar 8, 2023–I hate old memories; I prefer making new ones while I’m able.
What’s wrong with memories? Three things:
1) They are never true.
2) They are embarrassing
3) They don’t help create the future.
1) Memories are never true
I was raised in a litter of nine.
Whenever we got together as adults and shared childhood memories, you would swear we grew up in different families.
While I was sledding on a straight road, my brother was sledding on the same road, but it was crooked.
One of us broke his leg. Or his wrist. Or his collarbone. Or two out of three.
As a parent, I’ve experienced this from the other side. My grown children are forever remembering childhood incidents that I do not recall, to the point where I wonder if they were raised by wolves.
Those examples of false memories are benign. More bizarre are the ones where deceit is intentional.
We all know colleagues who, well, keep enhancing their stories. While a bass player may have played in the beer tent at a county fair, by the 20th telling, he is on the main stage, harmonizing with the headliner and being begged to record her next album.
2) Memories are embarrassing
Who among us has not been rash, immature, and imprudent? It’s part of growing up. And yet, so-called friends feel it necessary to remind and re-remind you of your youthful indiscretions at every reunion. OK, so… someone… may or may not have mooned some friends from a windmill. At least give me points for creativity and athleticism.
3) Memories don’t create the future
In “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle maintains there is no “past” and no “future.” At the risk of getting metaphysical and sending readers over to the Livestock Report (spring lambs are $2.20-2.50), know this: “the present moment is all you’ll ever have. There is never a time when your life is not ‘this moment.’”
Tolle goes on to posit that all negativity and suffering have their roots in the concept of “time.”
Will the future be better? Not if the future is simply a replication of your past. Need proof? Think of those stories about lottery winners, who within a short period simply recreate the problems, debts, and doubts of their pre-lottery lives. Or second marriages.
We falsely believe we will reach a point in “the future” when we will be happy and problem-free. Tolle states there is no salvation in time. We cannot be free in the future, if we are not free in the present.
So easy to write; so impossible to achieve.
One trick I’m trying is the opposite of déjà vu–that experience of having already seen something that is happening now for the first time. I’m working on “demain vu”–to experience the present as if it is occurring through the eyes of my future self.
I am reverse engineering my future memories by pretending I am living them now.
If that doesn’t work, I will exploit another option that comes with memories–to just forget them.