Not every memory is worth keeping

We only have so much room in our brains…

So, one of my old high school buddies messaged me on Facebook a few weeks back and apologized for treating me so badly during high school. They were genuinely sorry. For what, I’m not sure.

Seriously, I could not remember anything that this person had ever done to me, let alone something that required an abject apology. I guess what was in their heart and mind at that time was something they now realize was not right.

But here, all these years, I’ve been thinking we were good friends and parted ways on good terms.

So, there’s one benefit of having a bad memory. I also tend to forget instances of bad experiences in my past — though I can often recall them later, if I think about them. They’re just not front and center in my mind.

Which, I suppose, is good. I don’t need to have all my “cycles” used up by negativity and regret and anger and resentment. Life has enough challenges, as it is, without adding my own baggage to it.

So, there it is.

Not every memory is worth keeping. And not every recollection is worth dwelling on. Sometimes the best thing for me to do is give people the benefit of the doubt — even when they don’t really deserve it — and free up my mind for more positive things.

YOLO, after all. Pick your fascination.

 

 

 

 

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That’s weird – my ear is bleeding and I don’t know why

One of the advantages/disadvantages of extreme focus combined with a crappy working/short-term memory is that I frequently get hurt, then can’t remember how it happened. I play pretty rough with myself in the course of my everyday life — a combination of velocity and some balance issues. I tend to go at a pretty brisk clip, at times, so I tend to collide with things as I go about my business.

And then I find all these bruises later on.

On the one hand, it’s a little disconcerting to find yourself all marked up for no reason that you can remember. But I’ve kind of gotten used to that. I just shrug it off and get on with things. As long as there’s no long-term serious damage, it falls into the category of “Oh, well”.

On the other hand, it’s kind of nice not to have to truck around all the recollections of the injuries I sustain on a daily basis. That would get to be a bit much after a while, I have to say. Not remembering how I got hurt frees up space in my brain for the things I really need to remember. Almost every single time, I’m bruised or cut or scraped through my own doing. Every now and then, it’s someone else’s fault, but 99.99% of the time, it’s my own clumsiness that’s the culprit.

In wintertime when shoveling, I often “gore” myself on scrapers, shovels, and my snowblower handles, but it’s not till later when I find all these little bruises at handle-height, that I realize just how much of a contact sport snow removal can be. And in the summertime, I get all scraped up and never realize it till later. I sometimes look like I either fell into a bramble patch or I had a run-in with a very angry animal with claws. But honestly, I can’t clearly remember what got me there.

It’s a problem at times with my doctor, who sees these bruises and scrapes and knows that my spouse and I have our differences at times. And they ask me how things are going at home, like it’s domestic violence or something. Once I said, “You should see the other guy,” but that didn’t go over very well. Note to self: Don’t joke about violence with the doctor.

Lesson learned.

So, anyway… my ear… I felt this rough patch a few minutes ago, and when I rubbed it, some dried blood came off, and then my fingers got all bloody. Weird. What did I do this time? I was out working in my yard earlier, so maybe one of those vicious biting flies got hold of me. That’s probably what happened. I remember mosquitoes flying around me, and some other buzzing, but I don’t clearly recollect getting bit. When I think about it, maybe I did feel a little pinch, but it didn’t leave a big impression on my mind.

It did, however, mess with my ear. If that’s what happened.

So, I got a Kleenex, applied pressure, and stopped the bleeding, and now it’s fine. Like it never happened.

Clean slate. It’s Friday. Happy weekend, everyone. Whew. That week went fast!

When memory fails

Something interesting happened to me, about 3 weeks ago. It was pretty heavy and it almost threw me for a loop, but I made it through — and I discovered something about myself that I had really underestimated. I’m not exactly sure how to feel about it — there are good aspects and bad, I suppose.

Anyway, several weeks back, I was gearing up for my business trip. I was going to be away for about a week and a half, with very limited access to phone and home. Less than 48 hours before I was to fly out, I got a call from my mother that my father had passed out, had been admitted to the hospital, and was going to have a heart procedure done the next day.

Talk about a fire drill. Not to mention all the other emotions that come up when a parent is ill or in danger. I share powers of attorney with two of my siblings — with one, I share financial responsibilities, with the other I share medical responsibilities. (And I actually have no idea where the paperwork is, come to think of it… I must do something about that)

My mom was pretty freaked out. She and my dad live alone, and although they have friends who are nearby and they are very connected with others, they still don’t have anyone actually living with them, so she was alone, while my dad was in the hospital. The procedure itself wasn’t supposed to be that huge of a deal – something that’s done pretty frequently, but still… they were working on his heart, and he’s had some issues in the past.

I spent a lot of time on the phone with my parents and siblings, up until when I boarded the plane. I had my Plan B ready to go, and I had all the numbers I needed, in case I needed to get down to my parents’ place in a hurry — they live a day’s drive away from me, but I know different ways to get there much faster. I spent a lot of time conveying information and calming folks down and just keeping tabs on everything.

Long story short, my dad came through the procedure with flying colors, which was a huge relief and we’re all so grateful. The doctors also informed him that he was extremely lucky to be alive. Most folks who have the kind of episode he had don’t make it. At minimum they need to be resuscitated, which my mom could not do when he collapsed in front of her, because she didn’t know CPR and she didn’t know what to do, and she wasn’t near anyone who could help.

So, all in all, somebody up there was looking out for him. And now both my parents are on the road back to normalcy.

And I got on the plane and flew to my 10-day business trip, which went pretty well, all things considered.

The weird thing is, when I got back from my trip and met with my neuropsych, and they asked me how things had been since the last time we met, I had no recollection at all of the episode with my father. I talked about work and the business trip, which was minor and paled in comparison to what had gone on with my family just 48 hours before I left. I talked about the everyday stuff, and I ran out of things to say. There was no glimmer of memory that anything out of the ordinary had happened in the meantime.

And I didn’t remember that it was something I should discuss — all the steps involved, all the progress I’ve obviously made because of handling the situation as well as I had — it has completely slipped my mind, as though it had never, ever happened.

On top of that, considering all the emotion and fear and drama and upheaval that was going on, you’d think that I’d have been at least a little impacted by the experience, both during my trip and after. I would think that it would leave at least some “emotional residue” from the experience, to color my world and my sense of life around me.

One would think…

But no, there was no palpable “residue”. There was no lingering upset. No emotional fallout, no drama, no tears after the fact, and no ongoing dread and uncertainty. I guess maybe it happened so fast, that it didn’t make a huge impact on me. That, and I didn’t dwell on it so deeply that it disrupted my life. It was just something that happened and that turned out well, and life went on.

Weird. At least, it seems that way to me. Maybe not weird — but unexpected, in any case.

So, I’ve been really pondering this for some time, now. Why didn’t I remember? Did I block it out because it was so overwhelming to go through it, and I didn’t want to have to relive it? Was it one of those deeply personal things that I don’t like to discuss with anyone, so I instinctively suppressed it? Or am I just able to focus so intently on things in front of me, that I can block out everything else around me and immerse myself 100% only in what is “required” for me to focus on? It might also be my neuropsych’s office, which usually has a fan running that distracts me and puts me a little bit on edge. I’ve noticed that that fan bothers me a great deal, at times, and I have to really work at blocking out the sound of it, so I can think and focus on our sessions. That could have been part of it, too.

I think it could be a combination of all of the above — I really do immerse myself in the present moment, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. I can get so distracted by everything around me, that keeping focused demands everything I have — and everything I can’t spare, I push off to the side, so I can do and think what I need to do and think. I also notice that when I step into my neuropsych’s office, it is like a little bubble that takes me away from the rest of my frustrating, irritating, distracting, exasperating world, so I don’t always want to dig down into the muck. Their office is quiet (aside from the fan) with a door that closes, and the sessions are structured in ways that help me think better than I usually do, and I don’t like to disrupt that with my real-life dramas, most of which seem to be made of nothing and evaporate in thin air at a moment’s notice and hardly seem worth the time and energy to pay attention to them. We’ve wasted a whole lot of time in the past, trying to figure out how to address stupid-ass episodes that have come over me, simply because I was tired and stressed and wasn’t managing my energy and physical state very well. So, I guess I’ve built up a block against discussing emotional subjects with them, because those emotions just come and go on a whim, and I don’t want to waste the time pondering something that’s usually not real to begin with.

I didn’t have my neuropsych appointment this week because of feeling unwell and unable to drive, so I didn’t get the chance to discuss this memory thing with them. Tomorrow I have an appointment, and I’ll have to write it down, so I remember to talk about it. It’s a little unsettling to me, that I flat out didn’t remember that really important piece of my life — like it never existed. It’s not that I want to feel broken up about things – I would just like to be able to remember them and discuss them, especially when they are real. But apparently, my memory is not to be trusted at all times.

It would be nice if I could remember the things that really matter to me… the things that affect my life. I guess I’ll just have to write these things down. Some days, it seems like so much is happening to me that I can’t keep my head on straight, and I suspect that few people would be able to remember everything that happens to me, anyway. Some weeks, I go through more than some people experience in a month — or a year. I can’t keep track of everything, and it’s often difficult for me to figure out which things that happen are really impactful and significant, and which ones are just passing pains in my ass. Maybe I’ll just make a list of things that happen, each week, and have that with me when I go see them. Now I just have to remember to show them the list. I’ve kept lists before, and completely forgot to produce them at the time I should have.

Well, it’s all a process. If I figure out how to manage this type of thing, I’ll definitely let you know – because I’m sure others could benefit from it as well.

So it goes… onward.