Memory Glue

I had an evening with a few hours of quiet and I was not sure what to do with myself. It wasn’t a matter of having nothing to do, it was a matter of choosing what to spend my time on. Sometimes life feels like a blur because it is going so fast. Being busy is great, but what about moving at lightening speed? I feel like I ‘saw’ a lot of stuff, but don’t really remember much. Isn’t it memories that we strive to create? Why is it that I can do a lot of things but not remember anything? What is the glue that makes my memories become memories in the first place?

I like to try new experiences which generally creates memories, particularly if the experience was a good one. Sure, I get the bad ones too, but I like to focus on the positive. When a memory sticks, I know it. I can feel it, and I can hang on to it. I was wondering if the good feelings about memories is the reason that people like to reminisce with friends about ‘good times’. Are we wasting time reminiscing when we should be trying to create new memories? If we aren’t creating new memories, is life a waste of time? Not every event in our lives will be equally memorable. Then our minds would work just like a computer – it would become a huge ‘file’ of stuff with no prioritizing.

Prioritizing is what we need. Our minds seem to do a pretty good job of prioritizing, but why? Does the emotion of the experience cause the ‘memory’ to stick? Is this the reason we make decisions based on emotion vs. rationalization? For some reason emotions play a large part of our lives even with the best intentions from a rational perspective. Can you think of a memory that is not emotionally based? Everyone has to memorize things like the Gettysburg Address, but that is a different type of memory that is forced through repeated exposure.

Emotions are the glue that makes memories stick. If we don’t have the glue, we don’t have or need the memory. Think of your first day of school, your first date, your first kiss, or saying goodbye to a grandparent or parent at a funeral. As I write, I feel a tear collecting in the corner of my eye. Why is this? Can I really feel memories as much as see them in my mind? Like a soldier returning from war that has suffered exposure to horrible things, they have an emotion around the event. In some cases the emotion is so strong, they get amnesia. The feelings are there, but the memory seems to be missing.

For anyone, like the soldier – they seem to carry the feelings of the memory throughout their lives like a bad cold. They feel like they can’t get rid of the feeling yet in many cases they already lost the memory or at least subverted it. Is this what happens when you have the glue, but no memory to stick to it? How does this impact your emotional state? How can you have glue without a memory? Is there a quick fix to get rid of the glue? Probably years of therapy will do the trick. Right now, I can’t remember why I was writing about glue or memory. Time to go out and make a memory…or some glue…or both!


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