Even our memories are not protected from change. Let me explain. An event takes place sometime in our life. A particularly memorable experience. A birthday, anniversary or some other major milestone that we swear we’ll never forget. For years the memory remains vividly clear. We’re able to recall even the most bantam details with ease. The more often we recall it the sharper the memory remains.
Time passes, and as it does we are not compelled to recall the event as often and one day we realize that our memory of the event has begun to tarnish a bit and is fading. We still remember alright, but the edges are getting fuzzy. As more years pass we find ourselves forgetting small details and have to come up with what we think must have happened, to supplement the missing moments of our memory. Eventually our precious memory has deteriorated to perhaps 70% fact, 30% fabrication or worse! But what the hell, so we pad our memories a little, so what, at least we’re keeping them alive. Hey, if we truly don’t remember and we fill in a few gaps here and there, no big deal.
That’s right no big deal! No harm, no foul. But if we only remember the gaps and are filling in the big parts by adding things that never happened, or did happen, but very differently than the version we’re selling, then shame on us! We can’t be changing our personal history simply to make ourselves appear bigger, better and brighter. We can’t perpetuate a lie! Can we?
What’s even worse are those of us who superimpose ourselves into old memories they were never even a part of! Yes, the event happened, and they may relay the story pretty accurately, but only because they’ve heard it so many times before! Truth be told, they may have not even been there at all! They may have been miles or hours away, but damn it’s such a great memory they just decide that they have to be a part of it, so they just jump on in and make themselves at home!
In time they may actually begin to believe that they were there. Others might begin to believe it as well. That’s why most of the time no one challenges their new and improved version of things. Sufficient time has passed and our own memory of the event has faded and maybe we’re not really sure if they were there or not. Can we really be sure, when the event occurred 30 or 40 years ago? And even when we do remember and know for a fact that the person was not there, what would be gained by confronting the memory crasher and exposing the lie? What difference would it make to reveal him. If he needs the attention that badly then so be it. We simple change our opinion of him is all, and see him in a new light because we know, we know…
And so, like all things, even memories change. Just as we’ve learned that ‘Shit Happens’, ‘Change Happens’ as well.