Friday, 23 October 2015

Navigating the landscape

I’m approaching four years remembering every day that passes and to my own amazement have still not lost a day.

I have recently made a philosophical change to the way I range over my mental calendar to refresh the images pinned as memory tags to each day (for details of the practicalities of the method, see the ‘refresh technique’ post - link under ‘about me’).

Looking back more than six months ago, I recall the images for two days per month. Today is the 23rd, so yesterday I recalled the images for the 22nd and 23rd of each month from 2011 to end of 2013. Today, I recall the images for the 22nd and 23rd of each month from 2014 to the present.

This moving two day window brings the same days up each month, which is enough to stop them fading. Generally, I orientate myself if the images do not come immediately to mind by looking back to the preceding days, which will have been refreshed recently.

This linear approach sometimes left me a little panicked when the associations were difficult to find, as I could only see it would get harder as the days pile up.

The philosophical change is to look at my mental calendar as a landscape. From the beginning, I have visualised the dates on a month-per-page calendar, with the months stretched out from the numbers of the year. I have travelled these pages so many times. I realised the landscape as a whole should be familiar. The year as a whole has its story. A month, its place. Any particular day should locate me in the familiar landscape, even before I try to recall the specific memory tag. Instead of scrabbling around for the image and connections, I now try to feel the reassurance of familiarity first.

It is working. I am moving from this being a feat of memory linking consecutive images, to viewing a picture I have seen many times before.

1 comment:

  1. I am spectacularly interested in your story, and currently preparing to begin my own cognitive/memory excursion. The new concept you speak of here is certainly on par with the current research and psychological understanding of memory-- spatial and visual memory are massively more efficient than any other in regards to your project here. I find your words as inspiring as they are insightful, and plan to use the ground you've broken here to guide me on my own journey of memory and self-discovery. Thank you.