I’ve read hundreds of books in my life and at least 3 a month currently, so there’s no way in hell i could remember every single date, fact, or story theme. I’ve always supposed my brain kind of makes room for new stuff as i go and filters out what isn’t pertinent; and i only ever really retain what im most interested in anyway. As for what we experience in our lives too, we only remember things happening in a certain way or not at all. The members of my family jokingly call this ‘selective memory’. My mother rarely recalls bad things. I consider it an optimistic trait and a great survival mechanism for staying positive about life.
‘Total recall, the ability of someone to remember every word they read or hear, has often been lauded as tantamount to a high level of intelligence. The opposite is more often the case. Those with total recall often have difficulty making decisions, and more readily miss understanding the overall point of a book or lecture –because they get enmeshed in an undistinguishable mass of irrelevant details. Forgetting, it turns out, has enormous value for concise understanding and for emotional health.’ excerpt out of Trying to Forget by Ingrid Wicklegren
This is especially true of trauma patients. We want the healing factors of forgetfulness. Having re-occuring dreams of the car accident or the war zone experience is especially horrific. This is why the cliché ‘time heals all wounds’ is so true. Eventually we aren’t reflecting on one thing everyday, it begins to fade, and then turns to just a memory.
I’ve always been known for my freaky memory by people whom know me well; crazy details. I actually don’t think we forget anything, and I think we absorb everything! But because our brain is a muscle, are we training it to remember or learn or retain? Often not. In our routine, habitual-behavior-run days, we aren’t being deliberate about much.
A quick trick for not forgetting, engage ALL your senses. Where, what, how does it smell, sound, look, feel…? This is why the most exciting things in our lives are the easiest to remember. I’ll select that one, Alex.