Thursday, 12 January 2017

Five years

The end of the year 2016 means I now have five complete years where I can remember every single day that has passed.

I review these days in a new routine to refresh the memory tags pinned to my mental calendar. 

Initially, I reviewed two or three days of each month, corresponding to today's date. So on January 12, I would briefly recall the images for, say, 11, 12 and 13 of each month. Every day, I moved the window along one day. As the days piled up, I switched to a two-day window, then I dropped the overlap, instead giving myself both the 12 and 13th to run through all the months so far accumulated in this process.

Now, I give myself two or three weeks to complete the review by using a far bigger window. At present, I am recalling the images for days 7 - 21 of each month. Two weeks. The longer run of days makes it far easier to recall the memory tags, compared to dipping in to find just an isolated pair. I'm part way through 2012 at the moment. I have until January 21 to cover all the month until 2017.

Then I'll start again, with a window from 21 - 7, that is, covering the end of the month and moving a week into the next. The day on which I finish orientates me for the start of the next window, as it is exactly two weeks later - the same day of the week.

This is for my long review. I also review the past month completely at the end of the day. Most days, I will run a two-day window over each week of the past 6 months, as has been part of my routine from early on.

The turn of the year is always a little disorientating. The completed year still seems so fresh, but now it is done and dusted. I have to identify a theme for the year as a whole to help me identify it among the other completed years.

The more distant years are well known to me from so many reviews. But I still gain insights roaming over them. The present gives everything a new context. 

I've still not lost a day, but with over 1800 memory tags, I can sometimes confuse a sequence of days across the years. At more mundane times, I may differentiate the days by capturing some minor details I want to remember, such as what I did for lunch. This is not remarkable, but serves to remind me of the places in my routine of the time, some of which have since closed or changed. Sometimes I stray into a sequence from a different year and have to correct when I run up against a day alerts me to the fact.

This process gives a profound measure of time. People have been born or have died. I have progressed with running, from my first 5 km race in 2012, to marathons and my first trophy. Today I looked at the light fitting above the bed and remembered it was four years to the day that I replaced it.

So much happens in a year. So much more in five. Events in the years before also come to mind, but however clear the memories, they are generally unanchored.

I have no reason to stop.