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wundayatta's avatar

What methods do you use to help you remember your life?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) October 12th, 2010

There are a lot of ways to store memories—perhaps pictures are most often used. There are videos and diaries, and who knows what else? I use rocks as memory aids. I collect rocks from everywhere I go, and when I see them, I can remember what I was doing and where I was when I collected that rock.

I also have a toilet paper collection, found in European bathrooms circa 1972. The collection is nice to look at and to feel, and it is even annotated with where I was when I collected it, but I’m afraid that the only memory that comes back is of some murky stall in England, where the toilet paper was like waxed paper and every piece was stamped with, “property of her majesty’s government.” Delightfully ironic, no? But it could be apocryphal. Even though that is what inspired me to start collecting, I had not collected any English TP, having left the nation before I got the idea.

I digress, as per usual.

I want to know what you use to collect memories. But what I’m even more interested in is whether you ever go back to remind yourself of those memories. My family used to have slide shows (projected on a wall) when we were kids. Nowadays we can do slide shows on a computer. But how many of us actually look at those slides? How many watch the videos?

If you do watch, how do you decide what to review? How do you find it?

If you don’t watch, do you feel guilty? Is it something you plan to do some day? Why do you take all those photos if you’re never going to look at them?

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21 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Fluther? And FB notes? and there was that 5 years of Livejournal…I’m notoriously bad at this and I should do better because I think I have had a cool life.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have thousands of photos and I do look at some of them occasionally.
I also do artwork to commemorate an event or a place I have been.Often,I’ll do drawings,but not too long ago,I pit fired some pots with some plants from a place that is close to my heart.You can see the marks from the plants on the pot.It is a nice reminder of a place I love:)

Cruiser's avatar

String on my finger and a rubber band on my wrist and lots of sticky notes!

zen_'s avatar

Fluther. (Knowing that you are recording all my questions and posts.)

chyna's avatar

What a question. Today, my mom is very sick and I’m cleaniing out her pantry. I pulled out a food processor that she hasn’t used in years but it brought back so many memories of when she used to get new gadgets and how excited we both would get over using the new gadgets and knowing that would never happen again. So I guess my answer is touching, seeing old things of people I love help me remember.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I have lots and lots of pictures. I like putting them in frames and having them up on the walls throughout my house. I also like making scrapbooks. I’m currently working on a scrapbook for our time spent here in Kansas.

Megan64's avatar

I blog, take photographs, and use twitter. Just today I went back and was able to remember little snippets of my life from March 2007 to the present. Little moments that I probably would have forgotten. I have kept journals but I don’t read them.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@chyna many things in my kitchen also have stories to them.

I’m finding that I end up with quite a collection of e-mails that I send certain people. When I clean out my in and sent boxes, I forward the messages to an e-mail address that I only use as a repository for messages. Then I delete the message in my regular account. Periodically, I go back and re-read a series of e-mail exchanges, look at the photos attached, and sometimes re-save the message with a note or commentary. In that way, the e-mails become a journal.

Nullo's avatar

I signed up for an e-mail time capsule service back in my freshman year of college, and set it for five years. When it returned, I added to it and set it for five more years.
I’m also a bit of a pack rat. I hold on to my e-mails, for instance, and memorabilia.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It just happens. I’ve moved so much, and pretty much each year has been marked by something signifigant. I love pictures but really wish I had more and enough to put in albums.

Pandora's avatar

I can’t say I do it on purpose but music and scents really help me recall certain times of my life in great detail. I don’t collect them in a physical way, it just gets stored into my memory and these things bring them back in detail. Also observing beautiful things. Snow storms bring back a lot of memories of my youth. Or even a rainy day in spring or fall. I can close my eyes and these things will just help me jump back in time. I can remember what I felt and why, and even remember colors, and how the grass felt.

DominicX's avatar

Aside from photographs and some journal entries (and dream logs), I use my mix CDs to catalog my life. The mix CDs began in 2007 and each one was made during a certain span of time that becomes associated with that CD. For example, Mix #26 was made from 7/2/09–7/21/09. (Some CDs were made over 2-month periods, but not much longer than that). Most of the songs on Mix #26 I heard on the radio during my trip to San Diego with my boyfriend that July (one of the greatest experiences of my life). Some of the songs remind me of specific events during that trip. For ones that I didn’t hear on the radio, they remind me of what I was thinking about that led me to find the song, the songs bring up all kinds of images and feelings, it’s a great way to store memories.

Symbeline's avatar

I remember all the bad shit. That’s not very hard; but all this bad takes me to all the good too, in case I forget about it, since there can’t be any bad without any good to tell you that it was bad. Being the pessimist I am, I usually do forget, until I think of crap.
Who says the darkness has not its place.

Frenchfry's avatar

Pictures and souvineers. I have magnets on my fridgerator of places I have been. LOL

xxii's avatar

Photography. Sounds boring, I know, but it really isn’t. I’ve also kept a journal for the last 17 years.

Jude's avatar

Home movies, bits and bobs from my travels, and Fluther.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Nullo Can you give me a link to the time capsule thing?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I keep my calendars and usually write a few comments for every day. I’ve been doing it for 40 years and it find it fun to look back. I also have tons of pictures.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Nullo Thanks, I did it!

iLove's avatar

I have been keeping a journal since elementary school. I’ve lost some of the high school years (probably not a bad thing) but have everything from 16-now. At times, revisiting is scary and fascinating at the same time. I find that these are my own “life encyclopedias” and I can refer to them to recall a certain event or person. Sometimes in the pages I have pasted movie stubs, game stubs, horoscopes, and letters from other people.

There is something extremely seductive about reading and touching those pages where I have written words of joy and sorrow from two decades ago. Sigh.

I recently found an electronic diary that has replaced the hand written ones. I like it because I can actually insert pictures and documents and edit my entries very similar to a word document. Advanced Diary

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