We recall specific information with fondness and other with regret. Our memories play such an important role in our survival and in our daily actions. We’re not a mutual fund. We know that past performance is a pretty good indication of future results. Sometimes though, these memories need to be forgotten. They need to be wiped from our slate. Perhaps it’s a person, an experience, or a trauma, but it needs to be forgotten.
I knew what I had to do. I should have done it long before. I had the chance to do it before and I told myself that I didn’t need to do. I told myself that forgetting was immature. Perhaps it is. But perhaps in clinging on, it shows greater immaturity. I struggled within myself as I opened the door. It sat there, with a thin layer of dust. It hadn’t been touched in months. I hadn’t opened it in probably a year. I really had no need to open it; I had to reason to move to it. But yet, I felt like I was hiding it there. I felt embarrassed that it was there. I also felt a twinge of regret when I looked at it. I picked it up and opened it. I looked through, just flipping through the items. They spanned years, yet they were so similar. I almost felt like an outsider as I everything out of the box. I looked at some of it in detail, but the rest I didn’t. I didn’t want to remember. I wanted to forget.
I put everything in my marral, from Guatemala. This was part of climbing the mountain and I wanted to remember that. I felt like having some from that analogy close would encourage me to press on. The bag was full and I left the house. It was one of those cold, gray days that so defines the region. I trudged through the mud and entered the woods. I kept arguing with myself. Was this really necessary? I walked aimlessly until I came to a spot with history and I was intrigued at the irony that I had come upon it. The bag was emptied on the ground and I knelt to light it. One match, and it was in flames.
Years were grouped in months. Months were in envelopes. The envelopes burned. The light danced in the shadows. In seconds, it was mostly gone. In minutes, I was stirring the charred ashes with a stick.
Fire doesn’t kill the memories. It just helps make room for new ones. Perhaps memories will never be forgotten.
What is the balance between forgetting the past and learning from it? Where is the happy medium where you can learn an optimal amount without being haunted? Those haunted live lives of torture, but those who forget live lives of lessons learned twice.
What struck me most was the common theme that I had missed. Perhaps I now feel like an outsider to my own situation and can see the larger picture. I hope that’s something I learned before the flames took away the memories.