Posted by: ritagone | August 10, 2016

Was I Here?

On this most recent, month long trip to Europe (the U.K. and Budapest) that Michael and I took, we experienced a strange hqdefaultphenomenon. Here’s how it looked:

Hotel desk clerk in Budapest: “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Warren. Welcome back.”

One of us: “No, we’ve never been here before.”

Hotel desk clerk: “Yes, I have you both here in 2007.”

Us to each other: how did this happen? When did we start forgetting actual cities and hotels that we had visited and stayed in before?

This happened, I must tell you, more than once on this trip. If it had only happened once, I wouldn’t be mentioning it. But because it happened at least twice that I can now recall, it gave us pause.

Why? Because it seems there are huge chunks – okay, maybe just small chunks, but chunks nevertheless – of my life that I have completely forgotten. More than once Michael and I would be walking somewhere in London, say, and he would say to me, “Don’t you remember eating dinner there?” or “We went to a concert in that park and it started to pour rain.” And I had absolutely no memory of those events. Was I being punked? Were there candid cameras in seclusion and was someone going to pop out from behind a tree to tell me that, Rita Warren, this is all a joke!! We’re gaslighting you, and Michael’s in on it!!!

Nope. Apparently we had eaten dinner at that particular restaurant and I just had no memory of it. And there was that concert in the park and a rainstorm. It all happened. Somewhere there are even photographs to commemorate these events.

I just don’t remember them.

Which led me to several conclusions: first, if I can’t remember where I’ve been or what I’ve done in years past, what’s the use of all of this travel? It’s not exactly money well spent or good stewardship! And secondly, is it time to put me in the home and let me drool onto my bib? Is this what it’s like to slowly lose what used to be my mind?

But then my last conclusion was this: that’s life. Some of your past you remember, and some you don’t. Throughout the trip, as Michael and I would say to one another, “Do you remember that dinner we had in…?” the other person would either remember…or NOT! There was no telling whether one of us would or would not. The remembrance was not based on how wonderful the past experience was. Some of the events were amazing, and yet one of us couldn’t recall. Others were tedious little things and yet we could recall details as if they had just happened the day before.

There is no rhyme or reason to any of this, so there’s truly no point in trying to figure it out. Just let it be.

My advice to you (and to me too):

Enjoy what you can remember and forget what you can’t. Well, of course you forget what you can’t remember. That’s my point!!!

So maybe a good practical lesson out of all this is to take good notes. Take plenty of photographs. Put those photographs in albums and keep them where you can get at them frequently. And let the rest go. Okay, so the hard drive that is our mind is not what we’d like it to be.

It was playwright Edward Albee who wisely said: “I think you remember everything – you just can’t bring it to mind all the time.” Oh, Edward, you’re so right!


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