Friday, 2 March 2012

Joining the dots

A new aid to remembering every day of my life has emerged recently: joining the dots.

My principal technique for remembering is to pin an image that captures the essence of the day to my mental calendar. Reviewing these memory tags in subsequent days entrenches them in my long-term memory. All the same, sometimes looking back it takes a moment or two to remember the image for a particular day. The fact there are no plot holes in life helps me to bring back the image in the end.

What I find is also helping is joining the dots between memory tags.

As an example, it was 10 February when our friend Sandra gave birth to Laura. On my mental calendar a line stretches from this day to 29 February, when my wife and I had recovered from our colds and were able to visit Laura for the first time.

This is a step beyond being able to view the narrative to a story in my life. It is an aide memoir. If I am stuck with remember 29 February, I can feel there is a line stretching back to 10 February and Laura's birth. Sensing the line - the fact there is a line - helps me to recall the image that was temporarily out of reach.

It is a short cut. Stuck for the 29 February? Remember 10 February.

This wouldn't be useful if remembering these linkages between days was an extra burden. It's not something I'm forcing. There are few days on my mental calendar linked by these lines.

The joins that do exist between the dots have emerged naturally.

They are another way my mind is helping me to remember.

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