There are losses and gains that I’ve experienced over the course of my decades on this gracious planet, and I’m surely not alone, that trigger various responses. These days I spend probably too much time thinking about memory. About what we remember, what we forget, and why. And likely triggered by my parents’ deaths over the last year, I’m stuck on really returning to the past to see and hear and feel those memories, as close to real time action as possible. Is that possible?
So I ask myself, self, why do that? Maybe you’re too melancholy about Mama and Papa Bear being gone. But in pondering this, I realized that I was starting to see those past memories from 30 or 50 years ago as happening to someone else. Yeah, it was me, but also not me. It was the “me” of yesteryear who isn’t at all like the “me” of now, right? Mmmm, probably wrong. I don’t want that old me to not seem like me. I need old me because I think she has things to tell now-me that might help my continued growth.
The yesteryear me is me as much as 2021 me is me. But how to prove that? I know that it’s natural to change and morph over time. Learn, grow, mature. But that thread through everyone’s life that is their “me” is there. And I think there are pieces of our past that we should look at, to help us understand why we react in certain ways today.
Our brains are so quick to pick up any new lines of thought or action and think that means it should always be doing that. Your brain doesn’t have any moral compass, that’s your mind’s realm. So whether it’s riding a bike or grazing junk food every night, or drinking or having seizures, or over-medicating, or whatever-ing too much, it’s our brain’s way of getting good at something. It’s thinking, ‘Let’s keep on doing all this, gang, we’re really getting good at it!’
But fully going back to a certain point in your life and seeing that moment again is not that easy to get at. As I attempt it, I’m getting closer, but piecing those memories together often disintegrates, like those vivid dreams do within minutes of waking up in the morning. Practice makes perfect I guess, and a little cannabis can aid in those ventures, boys and girls and persons, as I’m sure other recreational drugs might do in the right amounts. I’m not advocating for that, but just sayin’…
I’m using this exercise as well to help in writing my work-in-progress, or WIP as the writing community on Twitter call it (hi, gang!). My process in creating a novel is that I work on it for years as a major motion picture in my head, long before I put pen to paper, or fingers on the keyboard. It’s Cinemascope at its best! I’m producer, director, screenwriter, all the actors, camera-persons, the score composer, costume designer, lighting, sound, set design and location scout. I work and rework scenes over and over, taking them in new directions, going deeper on a character’s background and influences, even beyond what will eventually be in the book. The characters become my friends and enemies, my ego, alter-ego, my imagination on super-drive. Mom used to say I had an overactive imagination. Yup. She called it early.
So as I work on this personal history mining tour through my memory storage areas, I’ll let you know what I’ve discovered. Ultimately, it may just be my nostalgia on overdrive, what with an extremely emotion-packed 18 months, and it too shall peter out. But I think there may be some stuff back there in the purgatory of memory that might just help me fully transition to this stage of my life, free of 9-to-5, free to create, free to be a novelist. And free to continue with self-discovery and world-discovery in the boss-less world of retirement. I think I’m brave enough. I definitely got the Cowardly Lion’s Courage medal a few years ago and I use when I need it, more than I’d like to.
I earned it and have the battle scars to show for it. Once COVID moves further to the sidelines and out of the headlines, I can probably enjoy this retirement phase more. But for now, I’m a full-time mind miner, looking for that vein of memory that leads to old-me. I’m thinking we just might need each other right now.
From Lady Proverbs, somewhere on the Oregon Coast.
For more from Lady Proverbs and the Well-seasoned Women blog, go to PulayanaPress.com.