Memories are the stuff of aging. The longer one lives the more memories one collects. This is pretty straight forward stuff. After a while it seems – I am told so by the really old – that memory is all that’s left. I just hate that part. But it’s now my part – damit. There are two features of remembering that are most fascinating. One is the tendency to embellish what one actually remembers. I always say, “They are my memories and I’ll tell them the way I want to tell them!”

For instance, I remember my actions as a young parent being unhysterical, level headed and wise. My children seem to have a different “take” on matters. When these discussions come up I seem to always come off as, at best, addled and at the worst, just plain stupid. I chalk that up to the fact that they were just kids and I was a mature adult. What this tells me is that the memories of your children are not to be completely trusted.

The second feature of memory that is so fascinating is – well, it’s called fiction. If what you are talking about is far enough in the past then you can make it up to suit yourself. Whose going to know? This is a double sided feature of memory. The other side is the art and facility of just ignoring what is actually known about history and substituting your own special version. This takes some courage but then it’s more fun than prime time.

Isn’t it funny though, the way clarity of recollection is positively related to the distance the memory is in the past? Or, in other words, the older the memory the clearer it is.

There was one other thing I wanted to say about this and I made a note somewhere so I wouldn’t forget it and now I can’t remember where I put it. No, I am not making that up. I really did have a note.

Oh well, if I live long enough, HA, I’ll remember.

1 Comment

  1. Roger Merchant

    Jerry… I’d be glad to trade field notes, keep you posted. I’ve been <br/>reading a couple of interesting books on elderhood, "Aging to Sageing" <br/>and "Can I Help", the latter by Ram Dass aka/ Richard Alpert… I do <br/>enjoy your blogs and appreciate the simplicity and wisdom that is <br/>evident in your reflective writings. In fact it has inspired me to <br/>figure out how to start blogging…I too get the jerk factor and your <br/>comment about not dwelling on and getting buried in the swamp of the <br/>past, which had been some trouble for me. There was some stuff in my <br/>back pages that you could say unhinged me and emotionally limited my <br/>ability to be present and real with people and life. I have shed lots, <br/>and have turned a good corner, out of the swamp and into a much more <br/>present centered life, where by golly the experience of real joy is <br/>most welcome. I am really up for this very different summer and the <br/>exploration into Choosing Conscious Elderhood. More later…Roger

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