Thursday, June 28, 2012

Are these the"Good Old Days?"

I remember about three years ago I was at Cheetah gym and I believe it was a holiday because for some reason all of my gym buddies were there at the same time. This was unusual because certain of my gym friends only came on the weekends and others were normally there only in the early morning. Whatever the reason was that caused us all to be there simutaneously, I remember a smile crossed my face.

I smiled because I knew this would probably not happen again, if ever, for a very long time. I knew these feelings of well being were fleeting moments in a world of ever changing events and I wanted to savor it and consciously focus on remembering it. I am smiling as I write this because sure enough it never happened again and I am so glad I paid attention to the uniqueness of those moments.

Another favorite memory of mine was the time I was in Provincetown with Bill about 6 or 7 years ago. I walked out onto our balcony late at night and I was awe-struck by the magnificence of the star lit sky. Never before nor since I have seen such a star filled sky, the beauty of it took my breath away. All I could do was stare at the beauty and vastness that presented itself to me. I thought to myself I want to take a mental picture of this beauty and this moment to indeliably etch in my memory. The feelings I felt were ineffable.

You may be wondering why I am rambling on about these memories. It is because these particular memories I had made at the time of their occurance, a conscientious effort to place them indeliably in my memory. There have certainly been other occurances previous and subsequent to those two particular events, however, rarely did I take time to place a bookmark in my memory so that I could readily and easily recall it not only visually but also recollect the mental feeling of well being also.

So much of our lives pass us by without real consciousness of the circumstances surrounding some really great events. If we pay attention to what is going on around us, particularly if it is something fun, exciting or new, we can recall it in the future much more vividly. Why would we want to do this? Why wouldn't we?

There are so many hills and valleys we pass through and over on our journey of life. Sometimes when we find ourselves in a valley, we can recollect events in our lives that were happy and joyous, and those reminiscences will help us climb our way out of the valleys of life.

I know it may sound ambiguous to those of you who have read my words about the importance of staying present and yet if we can grasp some happy memory of our past that can make unpleasant ongoing present circumstances more bearable, than we should do it.

The real difference is that we are not living 100% of our present, reflecting on the past, we are consciously reflecting on the past to make the unpleasant present more tolerable at this given moment . Does that make sense?

I think some of the lyrics contained within  Carly Simon's old song, "Anticipation" are true. "These are the good old days."

Often times when we are living our present lives we only complain about what is not going well, and yet when we look back at these times our minds seem to filter out a lot of the unpleasantries and remember the good things. It is like self preservation, remembering happy events and forgetting many of the unpleasant details, thank goodness for that.

Similarily, five years from now, when we look back at this time we will feel these were the good old days.

Bookmarking  important, particularly happy events in our memory, not only makes them easier to recollect but also those memories are more vivid and filled with more of the details that composed that memory.

It is possible and I feel healthy to live in the present, while at the same time being cognizant of the happy events of our past.

Who knows maybe those pleasant memories we are recalling happened in the first place, just so we could call their memory forward when we needed them most.

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1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of a short story from the New Yorker called “Arbitrage” by Andre Aciman
    (July 10, 2000), I know it’s out there somewhere online, either recorded or in text. It’s about memories, and the pleasure one can take in the anticipation of being able to look back on an event even as you are currently experiencing it:

    “Writer describes writing a college paper on "Tintern Abbey" for a woman he expected to sleep with... What Wordsworth remembers at Tintern Abbey is not the past but himself in the past imagining the future; and what he looks forward to is not even the future but himself, in the future, retrieving the bone he buried in the past.”


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