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rancid's avatar

When do you remember personal history?

Asked by rancid (214points) March 20th, 2009

When I was young, involved in so much, I did not spend much time—maybe none—remembering. Then, perhaps it was because the little there was to remember was not happy. Now that I’m semi-retired, I find my self remembering strange things—moments from fights in far away places. I could be sitting in a chair, reading, or even walking down the street, and something reminds me of it, and I am back there.

Have you remembered all your life? Or only when you are old? Do the memories surprise you, or do you seek them out? If you seek them out, what situations are you in when you do that?

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10 Answers

zephyr826's avatar

I’m in my mid-twenties, and I remember a lot. However, like you, it needs to be triggered. For me, usually a scent will do that, and sometimes a snatch of music.

marinelife's avatar

I just let memories come when they will most of the time.

hearkat's avatar

I used to remember so much more than I do now. I’l be 43 soon, and remembering is an involved process… something has to trigger a fraction of the memory and then I have to reason my way through it, by figuring out other details about that time in my life, like what grade my son was in, or where I worked, or what car I was driving or what relationship I was in.

Likeradar's avatar

I’m like zephyr- smell and music bring me back to a place very quickly. I’m a big remember-er. I’ve always kept a journal and taken lots and lots of pictures that I look through often. I can also tell you what I was wearing for most of my important life moments. :) I’ve had a pretty happy life though… it might be different if there were lots of things I want to forget.

marinelife's avatar

Recently I have been saddened to ask my mom who is 84 some basic things about my dad or other family history. She tells me she does not remember. These are things I know that she knew once and has now lost.

Darwin's avatar

Actually, I find Fluther is often a trigger for memories. This is especially true for questions starting with “Did you ever….” but happens many other times. For example, the question about strange pet names today reminded me of family and personal history, thinking about our pets who are no longer with us but whose names and photos linger on.

srmorgan's avatar

I have an excellent memory for names and faces and recreating situations that occurred a long time ago.
At a reunion in 2002 of “kids” from the old neighborhood, we were all 52 or 53 at the time, I could look at the class pictures from circa 1960 and ratttle off everyone’s names.

Yet a few days ago, an old friend made a reference to something she remembered on a date with me that had me dumbfounded, I just could not remember the incident. Creeping age.

I find that I spend a lot of time reminiscing with myself lately about the years in college and the rest of the decade until I turned 30.

I also find myself daydreaming about when the kids were little, say 3, 4, 5, or 6 and wish I could relive those days. Not to change things, just to re-experience them cause it was such a wonderful time in my life and that of my wife. The “kids” are 24, 20 and 18 now and they aren’t cute and adorable any more and I love them but I can’t imagine a better time than when they were all little.


Blondesjon's avatar

I remember everything from my childhood. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Some of my twenties are a bit smeared but all in all I remember situations and the things people say much better than the average person. If you ask me to remember a number I am worthless. I must’ve defragged that part of the old hard drive back in the late eighties/early nineties.

scamp's avatar

I like to think about the summers spent at the family cottage as I was growing up. My Aunts, Uncles and Cousins had the cottage next door to ours, so there were close to 30 of us together at any given time. We had a private beach, and spent our days there from sunrise to dinner time. On Saturday nights, we sang around a campfire, so hearing certain old songs, or the smell of burning wood brings those sweet memories back to mind.

The smell of Lily of the Valley makes me think of my Grandmother, who died when I was 12. (It was a popular perfume scent a very long time ago, and she wore it often.) It’s kind of like having a “visit” with her.

I’m writing my fondest memories, and some family history in a journal to give to my daughter one day. That way she will have something to pass down to her son when he gets old enough to be curious about such things.

rancid's avatar

I have traveled a lot, and until a few years ago, I could never collect much of anything. So I have nothing to remind me of my past. What I remember is suspect, and sometimes I think it is made up. It feels like a real memory, but I have been reading about memory and how tricky it is, and now I think I cannot trust mine.

The things I remember most are the times of violence. In fact, when I think about it, those are the only times I remember. Fighting—if you can call that kind of blending in with the native and gaining trust stuff fighting.

I wish I did not remember that. I wish I had more peaceful memories. But what I did was important, too. Or so I was told.

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