Remembering takes a lot of imagination.
In the book Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert talks about how science is showing that memory is not a video that we play back, but that it is constructed with parts that we know or believe to be true already. To demonstrate Gilbert describes a scenario where a person approaches a stranger to ask for directions. During their conversation two people pass between them carrying a large wooden door. Unknown to the stranger the person asking for directions is changed to someone else who has made no effort to look like the first. The conversation continues as if nothing has happened.
If it is difficult for our brains to hold information that describes a person in a brief encounter like this one, it may be that our memory for details of our own past are not as sharp as we believe it to be.
What is your earliest memory? I have met only the rare person who says that they can remember something from their infancy. A few years ago in a seminar about brain development I learned that there is a definite and solid connection in the brain with language and memory. The idea is that once we learn a language, our interface with memory is almost exclusively the conduit of memory. We do have memory of our infancy, but it is stored in such an entirely different way it cannot be readily accessed by any means that we have tested and “perfected.”
Today marks another year further from that time of my life. With recent unveiling of the “missing link” and my own life journey, that time of infancy seems more and more elusive. It is the origin of myself that is so much more intereging than is the origin of the species. It is as if those early memories, if somehow attainable, could tell me something not only about where I started but where I am going.
Thankfully some pieces of life are coming together in a way that helps me decide what I want to do for the next few years, though what I want to be when I grow up is still lost in the jungle of the future. I am learning more and more to give more and more of myself to my God who is so much more qualified to run this life than I am. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me in the coming months until I sit here again reflecting on becoming yet another year older.