Remembering Things… Differently

Persistence of memories...
Image by Parvin ♣( OFF for a while ) via Flickr

It’s so interesting to me how memories can change as you get older.  I’m not talking about selective memory or just failing memories in general.  No, I’m talking about how the details remain the same – the events are the same, the settings are the same, the actors and dialogs remain the same.  Even though all of these components of a memory remain – for the most part – just the same as when you recalled the event as a younger adult or teen, the way they make you feel about the memory or those involved changes to a different perspective.

Suppose you have a fond memory that had a few over-looked details that made no impact on you as a child or teen when recalling the event.  As an adult, however, those over-looked details make more sense.  So when you recall that memory, it suddenly strikes you as out-of-place or odd.  This unfamiliar feeling strikes you because now you are an adult and can make more sense of what really happened.  “Aunt Audrey didn’t have a headache,” you think to yourself.  “She had a hang-over.”  Suddenly, there are other unrelated memories with the same over-looked detail: Aunt Audrey had a lot of headaches.  Now, with this new perspective, you realize just how much of an alcoholic your aunt is.

I have several such memories.  The parents of my friends strike me differently.  Now it’s obvious which ones were the bedroom maniacs, which were the heavy drinkers, and which were the druggies.  These new perspectives give insight into the company our parents kept.  And with this new perspective, it becomes more apparent just what kind of young adult our parents were.

As a parent, I find this new perspective refreshing.  I’m not saying that I condone the liberal use of alcohol and drugs – especially around children.  Nevertheless, I cannot imagine trying to understand the finer details of how my parents handled certain situations without this refreshing new perspective.  I have honestly felt more of a connection to my own children because of this new information.  While I realize that I will never be Super-Dad or World’s Most Perfect Parent, at least I feel slightly more empowered to handle similar situations when they arise.

I apologize to those whom I lost in the transition from new perspective to parental empowerment.  The details are murky concerning how various perspectives provide me a deeper understanding of the mechanics behind the actions of my parents when I was a child.  All I can say with definition is that I feel as though my quality of parenthood has increased.  This stands to provide a better environment for my children as well as my wife and myself.


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