What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

I saw this quote yesterday and it echoes the thoughts I have often now that there are more days behind me than in front of me in this life of mine.  I’m fascinated with the things we remember in a lifetime.  There are a lot of things I can’t believe I don’t remember in detail and wish I did.  There are things that I remember vividly and wish I didn’t.  Maybe this is why I like photos so much – they trigger memories of all kinds in this cluttered brain of mine.

I recently read that old people don’t think slower, they just have more stored in their brains to sort through, like a giant file cabinet filled to overflowing that you have to search methodically for the information you need.  That’s a pretty old school analogy, hunh?  At least that’s comforting – to think you’re not losing it, you just have too much of it.

The other thing that I wonder about is the way people remember the same thing.  I’ve talked with friends about the way members of a family see an event differently, based on their age, family position, personality, etc.  Sometimes a small moment can make a lasting impact on a person’s life while a potentially life-changing occurrence is put in perspective and has little importance in the long run.

Perspective on the memories we have is something that takes some conscious effort most of the time.  We can make choices about how we absorb a memory and it can also change as the years go on and we learn more about why it happened or how others perceived it.  Perspective is what keeps us going through life’s unexpectedness.  If we get locked in on the single impression as only seen by us, we may lose the ability to see it from other views, other people’s perspectives.  I’ve found that we’re healthiest when we learn to look at an event from many sides, to let it grow or shrink in importance to find its proper place in the timeline of our lives.

We all have memories and they can sustain us or crush us.  It’s all about working to put them in place.  It would be nice if we only had happy ones, but that rarely happens.  Memories make us who we are.  For better or worse.  When you lose your memory, you lose a lot of yourself, as seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

Enough of that – may all your memories be put in their place and may they mostly make you smile!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA