Sunday, February 17, 2013
I had a funny morning the other day, a morning where memory took on the role of villain. We like to think having a good memory is an asset, and certainly when it comes to people losing their memories, that is indeed a great tragedy. But like everything in life, there is a price and a benefit to having a good memory. Other than a few gaps when I was too busy to attend to much, I have a really good memory and on the morning in question, that memory delivered to me the rogue’s gallery of annoying people I’ve come across in my life. Like I was flipping through a deck of cards, there they were, including (I hate to say), their names. I couldn’t believe that I can remember the names (all of them) for these bit players in my life who carried a short-lived (thankfully) but irritating place in my history... some more than twenty years ago. And I’m not talking about the annoying teachers who I saw everyday (their names are worthy), but the boss I had who told me I had to quit my job because I had to take a night off to sing in a wedding (that he knew about when he hired me)... yup, still know his name. Bad one-time dates. Co-workers from my teen years. All still here.
It shouldn’t be a surprise really. I still know all the words to songs I haven’t heard in years (REM, I’m looking at you right now... It’s the End of the World as We Know It). And truly, it did make me laugh to remember them, but it also made me think. One of the things I have struggled with is letting go of old hurt feelings, and it’s no wonder. With a good memory, we can replay these incidents in our minds like our own version of Dysfunctional Youtube, and odds are (and if witness identification stats are correct) we aren’t replaying them exactly as they happened. We color our memories. That old boss could have seen things completely differently, and leaving that job gave me the opportunity for a different adventure.
I’ve worked to make peace with these memory monsters, and making peace means turning off the memories even though they still rumble around inside me on cold mornings in February. It takes discipline to focus on the good, the place in my life where I’m happy, my goals, friends, and family. And the incredible blessing for a memory-afflicted person is the future, open and wondrous. Better to be happy in this moment and the one that’s coming than to worry at the past with no hope of changing anything but our own perspectives.
So, rogue’s gallery, I salute you and wish you well, and to all the rogue’s galleries in other people’s memories in which I am a member, I hope you forgive me and find your own peace with our shared pasts. We do improve with time, and life really does get better.
Quote for the Day from L.M. Montgomery
"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"