Friday, August 28, 2009

Lost Memories

Has someone ever broken your heart?  Then you are more cautious and protective with your emotions.  

Have you ever unintentionally hurt someone's feelings?  Then you are probably more understanding when someone does it to you.

Have you have been burned in a business deal?  Then you are more careful when making the next deal.  

Some experiences leave a permanent imprint on us.   Positive experiences become like signposts to the driver, directing us toward more positive experiences.  Negative experiences become like lighthouses to the sailor, warning us to navigate around problems.  The experiences of our past make us react to present conditions.  

Yet other experiences pass us by without notice.  Opportunities are missed.  Feelings are unintentionally hurt. Smiles, words, looks and body language are lost in translation. 

However, the experiences that have left a permanent imprint on us are now merely memories.  It is the memories of these past experiences that affect us in the present.  

Our memories, based on actual experience, can sometimes take on a life of their own.  The smallest things can become more significant when replayed in our minds.  Comments and looks can niggle and chafe and become larger over time.  What was really a bump in the road becomes a massive mountain to avoid.  Or we can read expectantly into events, thinking we are hearing things that we want to hear. We expect things from people where no commitments were made.

I tend to be an ignorant fool.  I think other people are far more capable of detecting nuance and subtlety.  Comments, glances, conversations pass by and I miss implied meanings.  I think back to my young adult years and recognize events that confused me at the time.  Those events are now clear in my mind with new-found understanding.  I am embarrassed that I was so clueless at the time to miss the meaning that was obvious to those around me.  Yet I am equally clueless today with new experiences that I will probably understand better in the future.   

(Even this post may be a prime example of my relative innocence that I will some day look back on and say "duh!". ) 

What would I see if I could re-experience my life?  If I could be the ghost viewing my life as in "A Christmas Carol", what would I see that I missed? What would I reinterpret based on a fresh view of the actual events?  What lost memories should have been remembered?

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