Sunday, December 16, 2012

Looking into the past...

[Photo is shot through a nice glass of white wine at the MOMA sculpture garden in New York City. That's Picasso's goat you can see. If some outdoor furniture weren't in the way you could see the, um, backside. Something like this, shot when having a fine meal at a restaurant, with the atmosphere of this view, the wine drinking in the middle of the day, is a moment that can be recalled easily by the fuzzy photo.]

I read in the NY Times today about apps that package up your prior social media posts and return them to you some time later. Studying one's past in this way is interesting. I was reminded of my occasional forays into old online blogs, written journals, souvenirs, letters or piles of photos. Even old receipts and budgets and checks can dredge up the memory machine. Back you another place and time that often seems familiar but sometimes seems strange.

I picked a little notebook out of my piles today. Inside are notes from 2003 and 2006. There's the description of a day with Dad when we go to someone's memorial service (I don't know whose it was) and then travel to Dallas to visit his relatives. There's the description of a dream where my dad and I plummet off a cliff in his van and I wake up before we hit bottom. (I don't remember this dream or even writing it down.) There are notes from the anniversary trip FFP and I took to Paris. It seems to be about me and yet it's so distant, so separate. I read about visits I barely remember and encounters that I don't remember. (Do the others remember them?) This time is also covered by online entries. The 2006 ones are in the transition to Blogger. A lot is there but it's all very confusing. I'm glad I have the records, but they also overwhelm me. Things happen faster than I can absorb them. But what if I took it all to heart? Our forgetting is part of our mental health. The time I explored today included a friend's death and the diagnosis of another friend with a serious cancer. Time is supposed to make things easier. But perhaps only if you don't remember...or read your old journals.

So, no, I don't think I'll sign up to be automatically reminded of my social media posts. I think I'll make myself make an effort to dredge that stuff up.

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