Memory is everything. And even though it is a very complex idea I think it can be simply separated into two categories; the storage of information, and the notion of remembering something from the past. The complex study of brains and neurology and the exact capacity of our brain is far beyond my span of understanding, but I hope this article makes it simpler for you. Let’s start with the first category.
The Storage of Information.
How fascinating this is that our brain can retain so much, even small amounts from ages ago or a passage you read somewhere at some time. Memory is powerful, even if sometimes we struggle to remember what we wrote on our grocery list that we left on the kitchen counter.
There are a couple of videos that may wow you and shock you and make you laugh when you see the power of memory retention. Be prepared to be dazzled by Brielle, a three-year-old girl who made her debut on the Ellen Show. At the tender age of three, this little girl seems to have been born with an exceptional ability to remember and understand. How the brain works is simply fascinating. You will be amazed at how she rattles off the periodic table – and she hasn’t even sat in a science class yet!
The best part of the video is when Ellen asks her, ‘how do you remember all of this?’ Her answer is so sweet and innocent, ‘my new brain just remembers.’ To her there is no science or method – there is probably a game she plays with her mum and the flashcards. Enjoy the video – it will put a smile on your face.
The next video is a little longer and does not involve a cute kid, but the very beginning is key to realising how memory is sometimes really hard – and if you follow right to the end you will see the true power of memory! This video takes a look at how our brain can remember things whether we realise it or not, including a fun memory technique. It’s a TED talk, so it is designed to be educational without being too hard to watch and it’s such an interesting topic, about learning, about experimenting, about how our memory is different to what we think it is and by the end, you might surprise yourself, I know I did.
‘When you make bizarre images, and tie them to a place you know well – memorising things in order becomes a lot easier.’
The Notion of Remembering.
What is your earliest memory? Do you remember what you did for your birthday when you turned 10? Do you remember your first day of school or the first big family holiday you went on? Do you remember where you were and what you were doing a year ago today?
Perhaps the ‘BIG’ events are the ones we most focus on. The birth of children, the deaths of loved ones, happy celebrations, the trip of a lifetime. But when they are actually lived you zoom through it as it is happening. That happens with weddings – when your day has been planned to the minute and you try to do as many things as you can at once to make it special. But then you finally sit down and think wow. That whole day happened in the blink of an eye. Years filled with things we might call ‘ordinary memories’, or our daily working/weekly routine can fly by. And suddenly all of these seemingly blur together and April and November seem so close together.
The beautiful nature of our memories is that we remember the same events differently things to other people. We each have our own specific details; maybe you remember the same day as it happened differently to your parents, and then you each fill in the blanks to complete a full picture of it and stories to share. I love that there are gaps in our memory. It shows us how we are not perfect, but we try to live as though everything is precious.
I found another amazing – and longer conversation about memory if you are interested further. It is a commitment, but you will be better for listening to it trust me. Listen to that here.
Memories shape us into the people we are today, and our memory is a powerful tool that can be used for so much good. I hope you have a beautiful weekend, friends.