More and more lately I find that I have the experience of remembering things that happened a long time ago, and then realizing that “a long time ago” means twenty years ago instead of ten. Sometimes I’m amazed at how clearly I remember those things that happened so long ago, and other times I’m shocked at all the things I’ve forgotten. Friends or family will say, “Remember when…” and I look at them blankly and say, “That happened?”
Many of my memories, or at least the ones I return to most often, are of the smallest things. Things like what the sun looked like streaming through the vertical blinds in the living room in the afternoons when I returned home from 6th grade–I can remember exactly the pattern it made on the floor and the back of the sofa. On the other hand, I can’t remember what I did on any of my birthdays until I was 14 or 15, save for trip to Farrell’s for my 5th birthday. That’s not to say they weren’t fun or amazing birthdays, I’m sure they were, but I just find it strange that I can’t remember them while I can clearly remember sitting on the steps outside the pavillion at my mother’s company picnic, eating barbeque and trying to be friends with her coworkers’ children. I’m sure my experience is not unique, but I wish I understood better what causes certain things to be preserved forever and other things to just fade away as if they’d never been real at all.