I've always claimed to have a really good memory. I still think I do.
I can tell you what I was wearing at numerous occasions from my past. First date with this one guy at age 16? Jeans, purple and green striped shirt, and a grey hooded jacket.
I remember phone numbers of people I haven't called since fifth grade.
I know the birthdays of people I haven't seen since elementary school.
I can repeat all sorts of details that people share with me about their lives, sometimes months after the fact.
But I definitely know one thing... if I remember something specific, it's because it was significant to me... or the person was significant to me.
The things I don't remember? It doesn't mean they didn't mean something to me at the time, but it didn't go to that part of my brain that says, "remember this, because this moment will always be special to you, or because you really care about this person, etc."
I've been scrapbooking my spring break trip from 2004. I went on a service trip to NYC to volunteer at a school in the Bronx. I remember a lot of things about that trip including the days at the school, the evenings with the rest of the group and some of the fun things that we did. I learned a lot on that trip, and there were certainly some significant things that I have never forgotten.
Unfortunately, I hadn't bought a digital camera before I went so my pictures aren't as good as I wish they were. However, I still want to include it. I searched my bookshelf last night and found the notebook where I had written about each day of the trip before I went to bed each night. I realized how thankful I am that I do stuff like that.
As I read through it, all sorts of memories that I didn't know I had came flooding back. There were even a few things that I just couldn't remember, but I have to assume they happened since I wrote it down. Like when I wrote that we all decided to talk in a funny voice to each other when we were roaming around the streets of NYC at night. I wish I could remember what kind of funny voice it was...
I also wrote about how when the kids in my class were in gym one day, the teacher I was helping talked to me about how she probably wouldn't come back to the school the next year. It was too taxing on her to deal with these kids. We walked across the street to get a snack and she refsued to let me buy my own, even though more than likely as a college kid I had more spare change than she did on her teacher's salary. I wrote about how she seemed so kind, and how she was doing the best she could to teach her fifth graders.
Most of the kids in that class would probably not actually pass the fifth grade, but they'd likely still move on to the sixth grade. I had written about how one of the kids asked me to help him with math and told me that he really wanted to learn. I had written about how tons of them told me they wanted to go to college like me someday.
I wonder where that teacher is now. I wonder if all those kids are in high school now like they should be.
It's a good example of why I keep a journal, but especially on trips. I think when you travel for any reason, there's too much to absorb into your memory. It was nice to be able to pull out my journal and remember what all happened that week as I start scrapbooking it.
No comments about how I'm 5 years behind on my scrapbooking. I swear if I can ever finish these last 3 semesters of college, I'd probably catch up quickly. I can't believe I've been out of college for 4 years now! But I probably have way less pictures from those 4 years than I had from the 4 years of school. What a joy it'd be to have albums of my past and then be able to stay on top of scrapbooking things as they happen!