Why remembering is more important than ever before

Why remembering is more important than ever before

As I get on in years dredging up older accurate memories gets more difficult

What do most older people think about when they mentally review all the phases of three or four decades of their lives?

Aside from immediate family growth, different housing locations, changes in clothing styles and food preferences, single status or one or more marriages, vehicles over the years, the evolution of entertainment, sports, music, travel, illnesses, employment changes, business experiences and hobbies, an inestimable number of other elements all create memories that last a lifetime for any individual.

In times of quiet reflection about the past, all of those and more pass through the mind. For me, virtually any event can trigger a memory search and at an older stage, I’m often vaguely surprised to have to acknowledge that it’s more and more difficult to recall everything in detail.

Our memory, it is often said, plays a big role in life. It allows us to continue to learn skills, to retrieve information that is stored in the brain or to recall a precious moment that occurred in the past. But unlike a computer memory, it’s not quite as finite and rarely will provide all the details of that moment without additional connecting efforts.

The computer will always give you back the data that has been entered. The brain, for sure, cannot be counted on doing the same at all times.

As an example – when I was a lot younger, I kept a growing list of addresses where I lived in Scotland, England, New Brunswick and Ontario – but somehow that list is no longer in my possession, on paper or in the mind.

I can remember the address and even the phone number of my boyhood home very clearly – after that even the timeline gets a bit faded. A few of that somewhat embarrassingly long string of residential addresses in Kingston, Saint John, Moncton, Scarborough, Don Mills and Brampton might emerge from a search of personal papers.

But in my mind, the only easy memorable ones are a cottage I rented a Nicholson’s Point, outside Kingston and the address of the first house I bought in 1975 on Beech Street in Brampton. My four addresses in Kitimat since 1980 are more easily recalled. But workplaces and dates might be on a résumé in my storage file – but only generally come to mind now.

I doubt I would need too much deep research to scribble a general autobiography but it would certainly tax and exercise the memory. Fortunately, it would interest very few either. But I would be able to.

As a brain exercise, I tried to just recall televisions I’ve owned over the years. My dad wouldn’t have a TV in the house when I was an early teen. So that’s a history lesson on its own.

So many sets, from the first black and white small screen in Lowestoft, England in 1959, to my first colour set in Don Mills, circa 1967, and right up to today’s pair of 55 inch flat widescreens, one in HD and one 4K.

One of the public’s problems with electronic technology like television sets is that there really is no now. There are always new and improved systems every couple of years and now that “affordable 4K era” is on the tip of the lip of the sales group in all the TV stores, because prices inevitably drop with the level of competition – the geek squad is announcing – “welcome to 8K” – the new, better, higher priced TVs.

This cycle never ends – at the moment 8K is mostly in Japan – but give it another year or two in order to build up variety of content. Then expect the resolution and clarity competition blarney to build exponentially.

Similarly, I did it with cars – a ‘55 Dodge was first in 1960 not long after I started as a reporter for the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.

I have no real idea how many I have owned right up to today’s favourite, my blue Ford 150 truck, but there are valuable memories there too.

My first wide-eyed thrill of 145 km/h en route to Edmonton in my ’90s silver Thunderbird – not repeated since, maybe? Or with a load of hockey gear and four young players in my mini-van headed to a Prince George tournament, in heavy snow.

As I’ve said, as I get on in years dredging up older accurate memories gets more difficult – however the process is more meaningful than ever before.

Now I know why I’m seeing so much emphasis in writing about continuously exercising the brain to avoid cognitive decline. Numerous approaches have been designed to maintain and strengthen the cognitive capacity of the healthy, ageing brain. Despite advancing age, our brains retain the ability to be maintained and strengthened and a new commercial field of ‘brain fitness’ has been launched.

The internet has many available – and it’s a frequent subject raised on my Facebook.

kitimat kitamaat

Just Posted

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read