Have you ever thought about the process it takes holding your memories?
A few days ago I started David Allen’s book Getting things done. There’s a famous quote from David that says “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them”. That phrase resonated deeply in my brain: lately, if I don’t put something on a list, I completely forget about it.
Apparently, my brain can’t hold many to-dos by itself.
I went twice to Blokker last week to buy gas for my Soda Stream. Both times I forgot to take the canisters with me. So both times I came back home with nothing.
I thought something was wrong with me but it looks like this is pretty normal. So if you’re struggling with the same: relax, we’re all in there.
A brand new past
On other things that matter, a few months ago while looking for something to watch on Netflix, I came across “The mind, Explained”. Have you watched it? It’s a tv show that examines what happens inside human brains in different circumstances.
There I learned that our memories change all the time basically because our brain mixes all the information it holds and builds a new past for us.
What a tricky game.
At the beginning of the first chapter, you see people talking about the terrorist attack known as “9/11”. They talk about what they were doing and what they saw that day. And it’s awesome how they realized that many of the things they remember having seen were actually impossible for them to see. Their brain recreated their memories taking a bit of what they saw on the news, heard on the radio and what others told them.
Molding our memories
I always talk about the importance of having your memories kept, thinking about your children and what they’ll see and learn about their own families when older.
I’m a lucky person who has lots of pictures of their childhood. One of my mom’s best friends was a photographer and she took tones of pictures of me and my brother. But once this photographer had her own children to photograph, my mom got a camera and used it… a lot.
But even though I love those images and I smile so much when I go through them, I never thought how many of my childhood memories are actually molded by those pictures I see now.
I constantly wonder if that’s what actually happens when we go back to our home country or city. Even if we’ve been there just one year before, it seems so different. And maybe that’s why it’s so shocking when we see someone after many years: they’re so different (older, skinnier, balder, whatever). Yet suddenly we get so used to this new image of them we completely forget how they were and what we expected to see.
It’s a digital world.
Technology allows us to have digital pictures and videos of everything we do, every person we meet, every encounter we have. We’re so used to have so much and so immediately, that now we photographers are debating the need of delivering hundreds of images of any photoshoot we do and even delivering some of them on the very next day.
(This need for immediacy deserves another full post for itself. I just want to say that I hate it.)
It’s curious that if I ask people what do they do with all those photos took by their phones, most of them acknowledge doing nothing. They don’t even look back to those pictures after a while because there are so many files to go through to get to them, they feel it’s just a waste of time.
And some people when having to choose between hundreds of photos to print, get also overwhelmed.
If you are that kind of person and you get tired and don’t look back at those files… take photos anyway. Don’t do it for you, don’t do it for your Social Media: do it for the ones you love. For the generations to come. For your future self.
And if you really value those moments and pictures, hire a photographer.
Help your brain to build memories. And allow yourself to keep them.
Do you have children? Give yourself the reward of looking at their photos and say “I can’t believe they were so tiny”. Fall in love with yourself while looking at how in love you were of your little ones since the beginning.
And if you’re lucky enough to have a photo that you absolutely love: print it. Frame it. Hang it on your wall. Don’t give your brain the chance to change nor a bit of that.
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