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Monday, September 21, 2009

Importance of Memory

I recently had an assignment that required me to write a short story on a memory which was important to me (and that taught me a life lesson). While looking back through my life to decide what to write on, I began thinking; what makes these memories important? I am especially referring to memories which I have from when I was a small child. One particular one entails my family getting into our car when we lived in Albertville, France. I would guess that I was maybe three years old at this time. I remember going around to the back of the car where my father was leaning into the trunk for something. I don't remember what I said to him, or what he was doing in the trunk, but I clearly remember the physical action of walking back there to him. Could something in this moment have made an impact on me that may affect me to this day, even though I have no clue as to what it is? Or is it simply that my brain was starting to retain information at this time in a longer term than before?

Noticing which memories came most easily to mind also got me thinking about what is important to me. There are the obvious ones such as friends and family, but what sticks out to me the most when I look into my former years are the times that I spent in my childhood. The years between ages four and eleven were the ones which I dwelled on the most. I spent those years as a missionary kid in Ivory Coast, and had to leave pretty suddenly. I have come up with two reasons why I look back on that time so fondly. First, it was the closest thing I've had to a home during my life so far. Moving around doesn't exactly make for a stable environment when you are a child. Secondly, I believe that the fact that I had to leave so suddenly marked it immediately as a bit of a golden age in my life. It is the same when people die; they often become glorified within their memory.

I finally chose a story about a chicken we received as a gift when I was around four years old. My sister and I befriended the animal, not realizing that it was meant to be our dinner. I mark this as my first great learning experience through failure because even though I (supposedly) stood my ground and exclaimed, "friends don't eat friends!" I ended up eating the most of the chicken after it was cooked. It showed me that, although it is admirable to stand up for something you believe in, it is also best to accept defeat when nothing can be done about it. Either that or I am a morbid human being who simply learned that she will never be a vegetarian. Also a possibility...