Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Remembering changes me

The word "remember" can mean different things.

To quote dictionary.com, it can mean: to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory.

It can also mean: to retain in the memory.

The difference between these two concepts has struck me in what could be a sign that it is time for another transition in this process of remembering every day that passes.

My aim when I began this process was to be able to retain every day of my life in my memory so I could remember where I was, who I was with and what I was doing on any day of my life, at least from then on.

I have achieved this goal for every day since 17 December 2011 - and some of the days back to January 2011 as I have been trying to fill in the blanks on my mental calendar.

The review method I use involves regularly recalling to mind the images I have pinned to my mental calendar for each day as memory tags. I refresh these images at least once per month under the technique I am currently using.

But reviewing past memories is, to an extent, to relive the moments: every day I am reconnected to points along my inexorably growing timeline.

There are benefits from actively remembering that I have explored on this blog: from being reminded someone's birthday is approaching to being reminded of my own mortality and the finite number of days I have to come. And all levels of profundity in between.

But there is something else going on.

We all carry our pasts with us, but I actually gather mine in my arms every day through this review process.

I'm wondering what impact this is having - and whether I should continue.

In the past, whenever I've felt the desire to stop reviewing past days it has been because it is taking too long, but on each occasion I've cut the number of days in the review to make the process more manageable and been happy to continue.

My current process is manageable. As I've written here, reviews are just part of my routine and do not distract me from living in the moment.

But now I'm realising this daily reconnection to my past has an impact I don't yet understand.

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