There is a radio program so good, so compelling, that it took me months to realize it’s about science (an area I have only a passing interest in.) It’s called RadioLab. Recently, they did a program called Limits, and one of the vignettes was about a man with a remarkable memory. A miserable man. He could remember every detail of every scene he had ever witnessed, every person he’d ever met, every conversation he’d ever had. He was constantly barraged with memories he couldn’t get rid of. His life was a kind of hell. The host explained his predicament this way, “The act of forgetting is crucial to create preciousness.”
Think of that! Frustrated that you can’t remember someone who sent you a friend request on Facebook? Fret not! Your forgetfulness of such trivialities makes the memory of your child’s birth even more dear.
The moments we treasure are special because our gorgeous brains can distill life down to its essence. The name the plumber you used for your last clogged up sink escapes you and a spectacular thunderstorm you foolishly drove through is retained. You can’t quite remember which summer you went to camp, but you remember the joyful night you all sang songs and told ghost stories around the fire. You forgot to sign up your child for cello lessons by the deadline, but you nearly cry when you recall the first time that child was able to reach her own foot.
The next time you can’t remember what you promised to bring to the potluck, don’t be discouraged — stop and savor a special moment from your past.