A Human Phenom.

It is literally 2:30 am right now and my mind is racing!! I am just having one of those nostalgic nights. Every once in a while, in the midst of all the chaos, I stop to reminisce on the past…. And every time, I am captivated by my childhood memories. When I was younger I lived in Sweden for 3 years, and for some reason have a very emotional attachment to my time spent there. So, often enough certain smells and visions will trigger memories. What I find particularly odd is HOW much I remember.  I moved when I was four, yet I have very vivid recollections of scenes, smells, places, interactions, friends and sometimes entire episodes.

I think these memories also have something to do with how I visualize things. Everybody has a different style of learning, and I think most get a true understanding of what works best for them at a young age. I am most definitely a visual learner which I think in part, attributes to my ability to recall such specific details. I always tell people “I remember it so well I could draw you a picture!” and today in astonishment of all the things I was recalling, I dragged my roommate in to see. I drew a birds eye view of the primary school I attended noting the interior layout, as if I was just there yesterday. I told her about the time I was playing hopscotch outside and explicitly the scar I got from scratching my finger that day. I recalled upon the time I was putting on my shoes for recess and everyone came in begging me to be in the school play because I would fit the main character from the Jungle Book perfectly….Haha yes the main character is a boy and yes he wears red underwear, and yes I did have to re-enact that…. I remember walking down the street one morning and asking my teacher if she had named her red Volvo. I remember my street, my house, all of my friends, my teachers, our class field-trips, my play dates, the movies, the city….
I could literally go on forever. All this thinking makes me question psychology and the human ability to generate, encode, store, and retrieve information in the form of memories (shout out to Nirel 😉 you psych major). What dictates what we remember and what we forget? What factors play in? Age, timing, moods, senses?  How is it that some people cannot remember things from their childhood at all?

The brain really does work in mysterious ways. You’re probably reading this right now, using that “voice inside your head” and in most cases we don’t really think twice about it. But now, that it was pointed out, you might take a second to realize…. How is it that we can call upon a memory when we’re asked? It’s like speaking a language. It’s so instinctive, it is our nature, it just happens.




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