By forgetting the past and by throwing myself into other interests, I forget to worry. – Jack Dempsey
As we get older and more stuff clogs our mind, new information and experiences shove older material into the far reaches of our brain. We forget math equations learned in high school, the authors of once-favorite books, the names of fictional characters and perhaps the storyline. We remember lyrics of a song, maybe not the name of the song or the performer(s), something about a movie or TV show, an incident but can’t remember exactly when or where it occurred. The names and faces of schoolmates, teachers, neighbors, recede into the background, and with no reason to revive them, are eventually forgotten.
That is not all bad.
Our sense of worth, of well-being, even our sanity depends upon our remembering. But, alas, our sense of worth, our well-being, our sanity also depend upon our forgetting. – Joyce Appleby
Our brain holds oodles of information, but a lot is not quickly attainable. The name of an old show, or friend, or place visited, may ultimately surface, or someone will say something that triggers a memory. The resurrected episode may be altered, tempered by time and the tricks our mind plays to protect us from memories best buried. Selective memory kicks in.
We mellow with age, and often memories moderate too.
Do we really want to remember the details of our junior high angst (now middle school)? The embarrassment of being chosen last, or one of the last, for a gym sports team…the humiliation of being called on in class and not knowing the answer to a question, not because you didn’t know the answer, but because you weren’t paying attention…not being a member of the ‘in’ crowd. Memories blurred by time.
I was on a bowling team sometime in elementary school, and enjoyed the game. I don’t remember all my teammates, only the name of one, Ellen. I think there were four girls on our team.
I remember the guy who sat in front of me in homeroom from seventh grade through high school. No idea who sat behind me, or next to me. On either side.
I went to sleep-away camp and only recall the name of two bunkmates. Did I not like the others? Did they not like me? Did they have long, difficult-to-pronounce names? No idea about the counselors.
I never was good with names. I recognize faces…I know you. From school? The neighborhood? Camp? Were you in my class years ago? Was I in your class? Did we work together? For the same company? Oh well…give me a hint.
I have been forgetting things for years – at least since I was in my 30s.
I know this because I wrote something about it at the time; I have proof.
Of course I can’t remember exactly where I wrote about it or when,
but I could probably hunt it up if I had to. – Nora Ephron