Dec 14, 2013

What I am Afraid of: The Fading Emotional Metadata of Memories

What am I really afraid of? I am afraid of not remembering, I am afraid of not being nostalgic, afraid of being able to live in the present with no connection to the past. Afraid of recalling experiences simply as events instead of feelings, remembering people instead of connections. There was a time a simple song, a sound, a smell or simply a new season would ignite feelings of a certain memory in time. Memories of being comforted by my mom, of playing soccer with friends, eating with family, partying after a hard test, meeting strangers on random travels.

I wish there was a way to save these feelings. These memory inspired feelings seem to escape into the dimension of time slowly fading. I sometimes have dreams of my mom and I wake the next day with feelings of love, sadness and loss. Feelings that it seems I could never normally access when awake but somehow in the dream world the feeling metadata of memory becomes accessible. Perhaps in dream state the dimension of time disappears giving us access to these feelings laying dormant somewhere in the corners of the unconscious like secret databases that suddenly come online. This is what is so disturbing about getting old. The fading of emotional component of memories.

Isn't this what motivates most of our adult life decisions: nostalgia? A constant and hopeless attempt to recreate childhood (feeling safe, important, cared for, free) and the school years (partying, friends, connections, emotional roller-coasters). Maybe some of us have better memories with addiction to emotions and develop a fetish for nostalgia, hence, never truly living in the present caught in an endless cycle of attempting to recreate, rehearse, re-enact, replay these good memories hoping the emotions would return.

Maybe what I should truly be afraid of is being stuck in the past in the blackhole of nostalgia. Maybe my fear comes from ignorance of appreciating present and future emotional experiences. Maybe what really feeds this fear is how emotionally risk averse and boring adult life can be, when everything is judged from the prism of financial success, status and risk management. Maybe it’s time to make babies so I am forced to live in the present, their present and project their emotions on to me and their digital photo memory banks onto you via Social Media.

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