I’m currently reading Michele Poler’s ‘Hello Fears,’ something that I’m just loving, being a fan of hers since her TED talk some years ago. If you haven’t seen it (why?!!!) she challenges herself to face 100 fears in 100 days, becoming infinitely braver as a result. Click here to see it.
Anywho. One of the things she said early-on in the book had me thinking. She said that memory is almost stored in two boxes. One box is for those things that we do day after day, often on autopilot. Things like driving to the shop, brushing your teeth. When you remember these actions, you’re not remembering a specific time, but a sort of a amalgamation of all the times you performed that activity.
The other box contains the specific, memorable events. Holidays, special occasions, turning points, really good times, really bad times… This is the box that really counts. And it’s shrinking. Not only because we’re so rarely present in today’s busy, distracted world (see my last blog here) but also because we allow ourselves to get comfortable.
As Poler says, “The more we live our life within the confines of our own comfort zone, on autopilot mode, the more life will pass us by. The only way to make it slow down, in the best possible way, is by generating these moments of joy that will stay with us forever.”
If we always do things the same way, in the same place, with the same people, it’s only natural that our memories will blur into one (case in point: 2020). But if we strive to get out of our comfort zone, to try new things, to mix things up a little, then we’ll force ourselves to be present. We’ll have more to remember, when we’re old and grey.