Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Understanding your 'Happy Moments'

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

OK, I am not a licensed therapist so this may all be bullocks. Today I am going to talk about people's memories (specifically mine). I guess what I am trying to figure out is why we hold onto specific memories.

In my life there are these moments I experienced that have stuck with me. When you watch movies and TV we are told that either very happy moments or very unhappy moments are the ones that stick with us but I have issue with this. The moments I have stuck in my mind are neither. It seems that those moments are moment I have been at a point of great satisfaction. Let me clear this more by saying that it is not moments like: finally completing a really tough level on some game or eating some great meal when I am really hungry. Let me throw a couple at you and you can decide.

One moment that just sticks in my mind as a great memory is me sitting in my Ford Escort in 2001 in the cold, infront of my apartment warming up the car while listening to Simple Minds' Greatest Hits. I mean... really??? When people talk about great memories they will recite their wedding day or the day they won the lottery or got a great job. For me they are really strange moments. This moment might be there becasue of several small factors that just added together.
  1. I really liked my Ford Escort. At this point I had a new truck but I still drove the Escort often.
  2. The Escort had a tape player. I have always been nostalgic for the tape/tape player.
  3. I was living 'my dream' by living in West Fort Worth in this garage apartment.
  4. I had recently gotten this 'Greatest Hits' album from Chris and I was really digging it.

Perhaps these circumstances led this to be a 'fond' memory.

Here are a few more moment that I have in my memory that seem to stand out as 'fond' memories or 'happy' moments.

  • Playing Hero Quest with my friend Barrett while listening to the Army of Darkness Soundtrack, eating little debbie snaks and drinking Dr. Pepper.
  • Sitting on my front porch (in Joshua) smoking (a pipe) and reading a book.
  • Walking with Chris a block to the IGA during an ice storm while I was living that garage apartment.
  • Sorting Magic the Gathering cards (which I generally hated to do) at my comic shop while listening to Chris' Charlatans UK's Between the 10th and 11th.
  • Listening to Information Society's Don't Be Afraid with the door open (at my FW garage apartment) while it was raininig.
  • Sitting in the small laundromat off 7th St. reading The Pyrates and waiting for my laundry to finish.

These memories are obvisouly all assoicated with my being happy but they don't stand out like getting married or graduating college. So what makes these moments stick and so vivid? I am not saying getting married isn't a happy memory, it is but there is a clarity and vivd feeling with these 'moments' I am talking about that are somehow different than normal happy memories.

I have not heard anyone else talk about these type of memories (or moments) elsewhere so I am not sure if this is just some sort of chemical imbalance with me or if this sub category of memory is out there and everyone has them but they just don't realize they are somehow different than other memories. Perhaps they aren't a 'different' type of memory but infact what I consider (subconciously) to be happy memories. If that is the case I am a VERY simple person.

In my life I strive for having more of these moments. I really do. When I do things in life I seem to always think 'is this the sort of situation that I will remember like those other memories I cherish?'.

See, I told you this might just be all bullocks but I felt I needed to get this out. I hope to have many more of those moments (which I don't feel like I have had any for quite some time) in my life.

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