Memory Effect

Short telling. I love a good story! I love to tell good stories! 

Have I “stretched a story” to make it better? I don’t think so, not unless I have labeled it fiction, the stories are all valid, but maybe somewhat edited. In some cases I may have deleted things or people, and perhaps in doing so I made the story better, or more humorous, or more thoughtful. Yup, typical storytelling techniques. But no wholesale inventions!

At least I don’t think so.

Recently I have noticed that several longtime personal memories have fallen into a grey area. While the story, or the memory of the story, is clear and detailed, my connection to the events are less personal. In other words, it seems like it happened to someone else. Almost as if it was fiction. It got me thinking about the processing of aging, and the effect on memory.

When does the youthful stride turn into the bent over creep? Ha! It suddenly appears the day after your 67th birthday. Well, obviously that’s not true. Things progress, things change slowly, so slowly that you don’t even notice that you haven’t run, or leaped over a log. Age is graceful in that way.

I play Suduku periodical. It is important that I play electronically with a score. My family thought I liked Suduku and one Christmas I was gifted with a magazine with puzzles. I don’t like Suduku that much. I play Suduku to test if I am losing a step. If I can easily score 82,000 then I’m good, at least in terms of solving Suduku.

So back to my memory. The best I can describe it is a disassociation with the event. Almost a reluctance to tell the story anymore because it seems like it happened to someone else. That’s pretty accurate.

It has only happened to two stories, one from my childhood, and one from an event that occurred while I was in the Army. I have noticed that in both cases there was no corroboration. There were other individual involved, but no one that is currently in my life as a fact checker. I think that this is important.

Personal memories might need periodic support from outside sources. This is why we have the dinner table. This is why we have family and friends. Ha! At least this is one of the reasons, they contribute to mental health, and verify your past.

Two things happened with my memory concerns, both were assisted by the internet. In the Army case I was able to phrase a question in Google that verified an event that I was involved in. It had happened! It was real!

In the other case I was reacquainted with a childhood friend that was part of my earliest memory. Thank you Internet, my new Suduku!

I no longer feel that the events are fiction. For now, it still feels as if they happened to someone else. It’s kind of a unique perspective. 

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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