Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Memory Condition

It's an interesting human ability to be able to live in the present and dream of the past. I think that word dream actually describes it quite well, the more i think about it. It seems like the more time that passes, the more dream-like a memory becomes. Not that it loses it's vividness or potency, but it starts to seem like something that happened to someone else, or something you saw in a movie.

I was talking to someone from my past yesterday - the girl I'd moved to Illinois for, in fact. I didn't really start full-on reminiscing until today when i was getting tired and had a lot of quiet time where introspection couldn't help but creep in.

I started thinking about how much I wanted to re-experience my life. How I wanted to just do it all over again. Not to change anything, mind you, but just to re-experience it. I have a very firm belief that I am in the best place that i could be. Seems a bit egotistical, but i honestly think that i have lived my life the way i've felt is most correct, and i've come to where i am because of it. I cannot imagine any way that i could be happier or more fulfilled in my life.

But wouldn't it be incredible to be able to re-experience it all?

Maybe that's why one of my first beliefs about deja-vu was that it was just you remembering seeing that same thing in a past life, because you keep living your life over when you die.

I used to think that there was a kind of catch, yknow? Live your life over and over till you get it right. But really, what then? Disappear into the ether? Move on to some other plane of existence? Join some cosmic force?

Maybe all our lives we are only experiencing the moment before our death when our entire history flashes before our eyes. Maybe all we see or seem is just a dream within a dream, right?

I was also thinking about how different things feel in my memories than they do in my day to day life. I was thinking specifically back to my time in New York, and my time in Paris. How looking back on it, I feel so much energy and potential in the life I once had. I started trying to extrapolate that feeling into my other memories and determine when exactly i had lost it.

I look back on those times and it's almost as if the world was brighter and i was capable of anything ... so when did the world become rigid and impossible? When did i lose that infinite energy of endless possibilities?

I started placing memory after memory in the best chronological order that i could.

APO Nationals at the Mall of America? Infinite energy and possibilities.
Walking the streets of New York? Ditto.
Rollerblading in Paris? Yep.
Taking part in the Habitat for Humanity "Shack-a-Thon"? Si.
The night before i left Illinois? Still there.
Running laps around that park in Guadalajara? Yes.
Meeting LuAnne at the party. Most assuredly.
Playing XBOX in our apartment? Uh huh.
Moving into our house? Yeah.
Hiking up the Mongollon Rim? You bet.
Surfing in Maui? No doubt.
Going to the Brazilian meetup today? I can't believe it, but yes!

It's amazing, but that feeling that i've always attributed to being solely a part of my memories because it was an intangible (but memorable) piece of my youth is in reality something that i just take for granted on a day by day basis.

The world is so incredibly full of infinite potential, yet while i can feel it in my memories of just a few moments ago, i can't feel it in my perception of current time and space.

To me this boils down to two possibilities:
a) i'm adding this perceived energy to my memories. Altering them slightly to fit both my desired recollection and my current outlook.
b) my perception is accurate in my memories but is impossible to hold on to in the present.

I guess it's kinda like surfing (now that i'm an expert har har) in that when you're riding the wave you're thinking about where you're going, how you're positioned, and the feel of the board under you and the wind in front of you. It's not until you look back or see a picture of yourself later that you comprehend or can appreciate the force that was pushing you forward.

If there's one lesson i can take from all this, it's that my memories are just that. I wasn't better or more capable. There wasn't anything more available to me in my life then than there is now.

Now i just need to learn to appreciate the infinite potential of my present like i do the infinite potential of my past.


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