Monday, September 14, 2015

What's worth remembering?

I know I'm not the only one who forgets things. Sometimes I walk into a room intending to get something and totally forget what I went there to find. Or I forget a fact or a name, often only temporarily. So many others around me complain of the same thing, most citing old age as the cause.

I don't necessarily think age accounts for this. I also believe our minds are crammed full of too much detail. We have more stimuli coming at us and from so many more sources than any past generation. If only we could do what we do on our computers: just hit "delete."

I don't know what the answers to this problem might be, although I do think it's important to be gentle and forgiving of ourselves for this. Nothing is gained by internally beating ourselves up for these memory lapses. But it may help to make some choices as to what we want to remember or don't want to retain. When I read novels, I don't necessarily have to remember all the detail of the book once I've finished it—unless I'm leading my book club's discussion for that month. I don't need to remember what I heard on the news about the latest scandal of a Hollywood star. You no doubt have your own list of what's unimportant to retain.

Recently I read a question that really struck me as one worth my reflection: If your mind were a suitcase and could only hold five things, what would they be? This is a good life question for me to roll around in my mind. I don't have my list yet, although I'm quite certain most of them would involve people I hold dear. What do you think? What's on your list?

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