I haven’t been feeling communicative lately, so I’ve got a backlog of interesting articles to mention, like this one from New York Magazine. It’s called “What It’s Like to Remember Almost Everything That Has Ever Happened to You”. It’s about a woman who has Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM):
For a given date, I could probably tell you something that happened to me on that day, where I was in life, and the emotions attached to that. When I’m recalling these memories I’m really back there, emotionally. I’ll remember how I was feeling at a certain time very vividly. Prior to being diagnosed with HSAM I always wondered: Am I just a sensitive person? I’ve always been deeply impacted by things….
In general, I’m not good at remembering fashion; maybe because I don’t care about clothes. But I can remember the weather. I go directly to a moment, or a date, and then zoom out from there. I’ll remember what I experienced or how I felt on a particular calendar day and I’ll start thinking about that time period — here’s what I was going through, here’s what I was doing, and then from that point forward it’s a sensory experience like I’m reliving the day or time….
Sometimes it’s great because there will be good experiences associated with certain memories. I’m grateful to have had more good than bad in my life. Today, I can go back about 20 years or so and if given a date I can tell you usually at least one thing that was happening on that day as I experienced it. Some days, I honestly don’t remember, but that’s rare and I can usually remember the day after or before. The memory will trigger images, sentiments, emotions—literally the way someone looked in a certain light or something like that.
I often wonder why I’ve forgotten so much of my own past, yet keep returning to certain moments. Why did those particular events make such an impression? Is it possible that some people remember a few things so vividly that they don’t have the capacity to remember much else?
If I ever write my life story, it will be a mosaic.
Or rather a plain broken by the occasional big rock.
I highly recommend the article. As I remember, it’s quite good.