The ability to understand, store and retrieve information, what a technical and extremely complex process of engagement this is for our two to three pound brain to endure, not just once or twice, but daily.
While I am fascinated with all aspects of this procedure, today I feel like focusing on the retrieval area, as I have been not only having nostalgic in my thought process, but I have been experiencing memories in lucid dreams and even astral travel as of late.
Memory triggers, we all have them. There are two ways our brain achieves accessing memories, recognition and recall. *Recognition is the association of an event or physical object with one previously experienced or encountered, and involves a process of comparison of information with memory, e.g. recognizing a known face, true/false or multiple choice questions, etc. Recognition is a largely unconscious process.*
That statement to me reads a trigger. Recall of course means for to consciously think to bring something forth, passwords, names, information concerning work, family, friends, etc. When nostalgic, I find in my own personal experiences, that smell, is the first to trigger a memory, not always but in most cases yes. The next is sound, more likely a song, the sound of a voice, or even an object, school bell, sprinklers in the summertime, birds in the morning, etc.
While, I enjoy revisiting events from the past, I do love living in the here and now. I think a dash of both add to the spice of life. I don’t think I fully agree with forgetting the past to move on with your future. Some of the things we experienced taught us something, and utilizing that for our future is a healthy action. I don’t expect harboring ill will and hurt feelings to be a part of your permanent learning curve, but I do expect people to process through the hurt, let it run its due course, then utilize what you’ve learned to help prevent it in the here and now.
So back to memories, one of my most often experienced memories is of my paternal grandmother. She and I were very close. She was beyond sweet and giving, and she cared for everyone and everything. When I smell Petrichor, I think of her the most. She lived in Georgia and when the musty rain smell would penetrate outside of her house (dry earth, trees, leaves) I loved the way I felt bonded with nature, and it helped that my Cherokee grandmother expressed many pleasures through nature with me. I realize that all of that above narrows down to enjoying the smell of bacteria and spores, but that is what is amazing about it, that distinct smell invokes an amazing memory of my grandmother, and I wouldn’t trade any part of that for the world.
Sometimes, my favorite method of living in the past is listening to music from the time I savor. I understand I am not the only one that does this, but there are times that people wonder why I listen to the music that I do. Twenty years from now, my son will be saying “They don’t make music like they used to”. He does listen to some of what I like, but he follows more along the lines for what my husband listened to. I lavish in the love songs, something that makes you think and produces romantic or longing feelings, while they enjoy that which creates and stirs a fire. I think most of us can agree that in the 70’s and 80’s there were barely any voices ran through dozens of synthesizers or filters, back then the words had meaning and truly talented people were in front of the microphone. Examples?
Hearing the song “Cars” by Gary Numan creates the fun memory of roller skating in Cindy Jackson’s garage.
“Nights Are Forever Without You” by England Dan & John Ford Coley, make remember camping out at Little Lake Alice, daydreaming of who I thought I would grow up to marry.
“Baker Street” reminds me of when I was a kid, and I had bought this tiny baking set (Not real of course) and hearing this song over and over again while making (flour/water/salt) play dough and pretending to be a baker. (yes, I know, but deal with it LOL)
Hearing the song “Private Eyes” by Hall & Oats, reminds me of realizing my possible dream of becoming a dance choreographer was NOT a wise idea, as we were to make an exercise/work out dance, and that is the song we chose. This was in 7th grade, and while I’d been in dance most of my life prior to that, it was very obvious that I did not flourish in that line of work (yes, even at the ripe age of 12).
“Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parson’s Project reminds me of buying baby fish at Gibson’s in Alliance, Nebraska with Susan Soprano and majorly crushing on her older brother (I was what 11?)
My list is long, I will not bore you.
Then of course are sights that activate memories. Driving by an old school, an old house, seeing a name or face from the past. Those of course always, at some time or another, instigate thoughts of what you .. remember… about them.
So, now, what are some of YOUR fondest memories? What triggers them? I truly would LOVE to know!