I was helping out a neighbour get to his medical appointment recently. While sitting in the car at the clinic, I caught some of the words of a song on the radio. It was about a love affair and a breakup. The phrase that caught my interest was the young gentleman wanting to delete his memory of his love.
The exciting concept led me down into the rabbit hole once again. Come on down with me, and let’s see where we end up. It should be fun. Curious now?
I wondered if I had any memories that I’d be better off deleting. If not better off, just a memory I wished wasn’t there.
I quickly realized that nothing came to the top of my list very quickly. I am grateful for that. For example, I don’t have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Then I recalled a memory that impacted me negatively for several months before I could think it into the background.
I was about 20 years old, away from home at University.
I was returning home from somewhere, completely sober. The intersection was brightly lit this night as I entered the crosswalk. I noticed a car was approaching, and his signal light indicated an intention to turn and cross towards me. He appeared to slow down to give me the right of way.
I was wrong.
I remember the rest as being in slow motion. I turned to get out of the way, failed, and hit the car dead centre. I rose into the air and saw my glasses seemingly suspended in mid-air well above me. I landed heavily on the pavement, and I looked at the vehicle. Then it lurched towards me.
I thought that this was the end as the driver intended to flee and wipe me out. I got up to my hands and knees and stared into the darkness with two very bright lights just feet away.
But the driver had put the car into park, and after the vehicle lurched slightly, he stepped out to come to my rescue.
I came through this experience with little physical harm or broken glasses to speed forward with this memory.
Several weeks later, I was crossing a vacant parking lot at night. A car entered the large lot, taking a shortcut to avoid the red light at the next intersection. It didn’t follow the usual route but drove across individual parking stalls.
Visually chaotic and unpredictable. I ran for the nearest light standard and hung on, putting the light pole between me and the car.
The incident was over quickly. But I wondered what the heck just happened. I connected my behaviour to the memory of my recent car accident. I was in very new territory, mentally.
In the subsequent weeks, I found similar reactions when out a night. I was able to take deep breaths and not have exaggerated behaviour relative to the actual risk to me.
With some focused mental work, the memory faded into a story I could recall without an elevated heartbeat.
Please give this a bit of a think. Do you have a memory that you’d like to delete? How would your life be better or worse if you could delete it? Knowing you can’t delete a memory, how could you reduce the negative impact of your memory?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.
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