Memory and Living

So I’m part way through this wonderful book,Moonwalking with Einstein, and it’s given me a lot to think about. I’ve been toying around with a lot thoughts of life and living lately, but this book is really bringing it home.


The current portion of the book I’m in is discussing how time is shaped by our memories– like we live more the more we remember. It is like how as young adults and teens our lives are full of new experiences and things that define us, so time seems to slow down, while as we become adults who only do routine things, time starts to speed up and up. So the more we remember, and the more we do things that challenge us and cause us to create lasting memories, the more we are living and the more we will, then, remember.

It just brings to mind all the things I’ve been thinking about as I take a hard look at myself and what it means to be Amanda. One of the challenges from a class was to write an ‘about me’ that allows prospective employers to learn a bit about me, or even when I’m out networking to be able to sum up what it is that makes me a unique person. Only… whenever I’m staring at that blank word doc, I never quite know what to put on it. I don’t feel like I’ve led a boring life, or that I’m a boring person, but when I look at that sheet of paper, all I can feel is that I am, in fact, boring, because I draw a total blank on exciting or fantastical things that would show someone reading my ‘about me’ who I am.

Then, reading this book, I have to wonder if it’s just a memory deficiency– that I don’t catalog things the way other people do. That I lack the bits of memory I need to flush out my own life. Like maybe I spend too much time reading books and listening to other people’s memories instead of creating my own. I was talking with my husband about this, and talking about how he has all these exciting stories, and his response was, “Yeah, and most of them I’ve been lucky to live through!”

But I’ve always struggled with this. This idea of defining myself in a paragraph or a sentence. I hated in school when we all had to introduce ourselves and say one interesting thing about us. How do you pick one? How do you know which one to pick? What if what you pick says the wrong things about you? What if some of the things you are proudest of would make someone laugh? What if you like the small things? Why do these introductions just feel like a pissing contest where everyone tries to one-up each other with their interesting fact?

Does that make for an interesting life? Adventure seeking? Risk taking? Is that what creates memories? That faster heartbeat? The accelerated pulse? Do you have to find a way to do that every day to make the most of life? Is it learning something new every day and just spending your days being curious and explorative?

I also just watched the movie Lucy yesterday, and that is all about how the sum of who we are as humans is basically the sum of everything we have learned and remembered. It is memory that separates us from other creatures.

Aside: Am I just reading, watching, and musing over memory so I’m seeing it in so many things around me, or is it so around me in the zeitgeist that I’m mulling over it?

I really enjoyed the movie. It had a lot to mull over, and while there were some very obvious plot holes, I would recommend it. Potentially just because it brings to mind all the things I’ve been mulling over recently. But if we don’t wonder what it is that makes us human, and what makes our experience as humans unique, what are we to wonder about?


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