I Don’t Want to Forget My Life
Last night as I lay in bed reminiscing about my life, unable to will myself to sleep, the term ‘memory hoarding’ kept ringing in my ears. I knew I hadn't heard it from anywhere so I thought I was the first person to come up with it, but after researching, it turns out it's an actual thing that has already being talked about. The internet thinks memory hoarding an obsessive-compulsive disorder, but that isn't the case for me. It's just something I love to do.
I'm a memory hoarder, which means I collect memories the same way squirrels collect nuts so they have food to eat in the winter. I collect memories so I have something to look back on. I cling to memories because I don't want to forget important details of my life.
There’s something refreshing about going on Snapchat and seeing “Flashback from 4 years ago today” and remembering exactly what my day looked like. And honestly, the only reason I still have the app is for the flashbacks, so I regularly use it solely for that purpose.
I enjoy picking up my diary from previous years and going back to relive special moments, and sometimes these records give me important insights into my life. When I go a week without writing anything in my diary, I feel a panic that tells me I will not remember those days five years from now and the memory will be lost forever. Keeping memories gives me a sense of control over my life.
Children these days will never have to forget memories because their lives are recorded from the moment they are born. Every milestone and every accomplishment is recorded. Growing up in Africa, there were no cameras or video phones like it is abundant today. I can’t remember much of my childhood, and that’s because there’s no record of it.
I can’t remember my 5th birthday or the date of my first kiss. I can’t remember the date I first had a period or the age I developed breasts. All I remember is how long it took for my breasts to develop and my period to come. Oh, I remember the long wait very clearly, but not the dates they finally happened. I wrote it down; I know I did because even as a little girl I hoarded memories and wrote everything I deemed important down, but when I made my move to the states; I left all my childhood diaries at home, and my mom doesn't know what happened to the stuff I left behind. Last I heard, they got destroyed in a flood. I lost those memories, and I was devastated.
Not remembering makes me feel like I've lost bits of myself and important pieces of information that could shed light on some things in my adult life now.
I’m the kind of person who saves gifts, memory cards, pictures, and holiday cards from loved ones and even exes as long as they did me no wrong and if an ex did me wrong, then their gifts — if it's worth something — get listed on offerUp for sale. I don't hoard memories that bring me negative feelings. I don’t record or hoard bad memories. Those are worth forgetting.
Now that I’m older, it’s my responsibility not to forget who and where I’ve been. Most people will argue that if you spend your time recording details and taking pictures, you miss out on being fully present. That is very true, but it takes a second to take a picture. I can capture a moment quickly and go back to being fully present to experience it. And when it comes to writing in my diary, it doesn't have to be right then and there. I can write after the experience.
I love memories. They feel safe and bring all sorts of nostalgia. Aging comes with forgetfulness and not being able to remember sounds scary. I know that one day when I'm old and gray and struggling to remember my life from 30 years back, I can just pull my box of collections or open my dairies and I’ll get to relive those memories all over again.