Memory Lane

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past, but not in the way I had normally perceived the past. I haven’t been taking a ‘trip down memory lane’ and clinging to the past, but rather realizing that the past exists, and, in the same moment, does not exist.

Let me explain:

Our memory of the past is existent in the present, therefore it exists as a memory; a thought; an idea, but because it is, in fact, the past it can no longer exist.

Therefore, all we have of the past is a memory, and I began to realize, from this, how risky the past can become.

In the present, we make memories, whether we realize it or not, that is what we do. Every step becomes a memory, every decision becomes a past thought, every heart we touch, life we encounter, hand we hold, breathe we breathe becomes an imprint we may one day remember. Every one of those memories is a risk in its making, because every one of those memories has a chance of one day being remembered. Whether good or bad; beautiful or ugly; divine or depraved, every action of the present is at risk of becoming a thought encountered one day in the future.

But not only this, all those memories are at risk of being shared as well. This sharing can be an amazing or a traumatizing experience. It can draw people closer or tear people apart; it can unite and separate; it can build or tear down. Sharing our past can be as soothing as a song or as ferocious a monster.

It is hard to escape either of these outcomes. We cannot control what we remember, and though we can control what memories we share, our lives are becoming more and more visible through social media – causing both us and those around us to share in past memories. People need only scroll down facebook timeline’s or through blog entries to discover things from our past that we may have forgotten or wanted to forget; things we were waiting to share in person or things we were choosing not to share at all.

Thus, memory making becomes a greater risk every day, but, from this, there is one thing that I’m learning: I still want to make memories.

No, I do not want to make the same memories, but I want, desperately, to make memories worth sharing; to write a story worth telling. I’m learning from the past, and I’m growing from the mistakes and the stupid decisions I chose to make then. I’m discovering what is worth living for. I’m discovering what kind of memories I want to avoid making, and what memories I want to make more than anything. I’m learning what it means to live and risk everything for memories that will change my life and the lives of those I love and encounter. I’m learning that there are consequences and joys of memory making, and am learning to make memories worth fighting for.

So, yes, I still want to make memories, even with the risk, and I desire to drink of them deeply in the days to come.


One last thing:

I understand everyone has a past filled with memories – some good and some not so good – as I do myself, and I not only want to make memories, but I want to understand the memories of others. I want to tell them that their decisions do not have to be the same as they once were; that their past does not have to define them. I want to show love, grace, and loyalty has I hear their stories, whether good or bad. I want to comfort them in past sadness; forgive them of past mistakes; laugh over past joys; and see the beauty of past discoveries. I want to be there as they remember, help them learn and grow from that past, and begin building new memories with them.


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About Jeremiah Dowling

I write poetry and take crazy pictures in an Orange Chair all over the United States while reading amazing books.

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