Had an interesting conversation with a friend about why our memories can seem to be so much “better” than the experience itself was. Think of times you have seen a beautiful view or sunset in your mind - I bet that if you paid attention to it the next time you were at one you might think it less superb than your memories of other places. I at least remember being in Europe and wanting to savor in all the beautiful things I was seeing and I couldn’t help but find myself thinking that there was no “magic” to what I was seeing. It just felt like I was looking at another landscape. I was hot, tired and hungry. Yes I should be appreciating this view, but all these other things were bothering me.
I think the reason behind this is that your memory loses all those detracting factors like physical feelings of hunger or fatigue, and instead you remember the emotional impact of the place. It has become romanticized in your memory as you had wished it was when you were there and now contains a special magic that hadn’t been there at the time. My friend had said that perhaps this was because in your memory you have been able to build a better narrative of what your time at the place was like and you have that to enhance it in your mind. This narrative ties together all the aspects of your experience and paints an impressionistic picture for your mind.
I believe that I have actually gotten a lot better at being to appreciate the experiences that I am in as opposed to having to wait for the rosy memories to feel the magic. I really liked the narrative idea because I notice myself doing that on the fly narrative creation when I am having certain experiences. The impressionism analogy is apt too I think because you can focus on your impressions in the current moment and use that to color your view of the current place. Recently I was able to do this in Hawai’i pretty successfully I think as I never felt like I should be appreciating an experience more than I was. A lot of it is just that mental awareness of your experience. I hadn’t quite honed that down when in Europe a few years ago. I still had a great time and have lots of great memories! I just didn’t know how to mentally enjoy it better in the moment, and that experience helped me to think about this and learn better about how to be more present.
Rush revisited. A major throwback to High School Marshall.
Busy day! Didn’t get to read 😬