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The keys to unlocking memories

The keys to unlocking memories



What are some of the most priceless things in your possession?

Some might point out family heirlooms that have been passed down from generations ago. Others might say it is their athletic abilities or artistic talents.

To me, memories are probably one of the most priceless things I have. Intangible, yet immensely powerful, recalling them can provoke a variety of emotions ranging from laughter to tears.

Or sometimes, we use them to spend time wistfully reminiscing our favourite moments, perhaps to recall beloved relatives we've lost over the years. Memories are precious indeed.


Photo: Clay Banks, Unsplash

Evoking them

This topic came to mind (no pun intended) while I was driving last weekend. For some reason, the scent wafting out from the container smelled like buffalo wings, even if the food inside wasn't.

Specifically, it smelled like buffalo wings from Domino's Pizza in the US. That slightly acidic, sour and spicy smell immediately brought me back to my university days, when ordering pizza and buffalo wings was a treat because it was costly for us students.

These days, ordering pizza is still a treat, not because it's expensive, but because it's not too healthy and must be eaten in moderation. But I digress.

Mental browser

Reminiscing is like reading Wikipedia. One memory leads to another and before you know it, you've opened 50 tabs in your mental browser. Like the buffalo wings, they're too good to resist.

So, the next thing I knew, I was happily recalling my old friends and our (mis)adventures, including one that involved a trip to the hospital A&E because a buddy had gotten drunk on grain alcohol (95% alcohol) and vomited while passed out.

The price for his crime was getting his stomach pumped. He woke up to find his furious (and worried) parents by his bedside and upon his return to campus, was given a disciplinary warning for underage drinking. It was a long time before he dared have another drink.


Photo: blocks, Unsplash

Music can be a powerful trigger as well. Listening to old songs can make you recall everything from movies to TV shows, which will in turn, bring an onslaught of other memories as well.

Even if you're only in your 20s, hearing hit tunes from a decade ago can make you remember your adventures as a teen. You might recall pranks played on friends or the trouble you go into with your parents. Do this while hanging out with your buddies and it becomes a laughter-filled bonding session.

Vault of treasures

Our memory vault is a fascinating and amazing part of our mind. Its 'storage capacity' is arguably unmatched by any man-made technology, and its ability to instantly recall moments we love is awe-inspiring.

Yet at the same time, memories can be too securely locked away that even as the owner, access to them can be difficult or even impossible. They can also become fuzzy over time, resulting in incorrect recollections.


Photo: Jon Tyson, Unsplash

I often wonder if my propensity to daydream when I'm between tasks is actually my mind trying to access memories so that they can be replayed to my heart's content. Or am I just imagining this?

Even with my head in the clouds, I am cognisant of the fact that to have more memories with which to reminisce, I need to live in the present.

As the Paul Anka song Times of Your Life goes, "The memories are time that you borrow / To spend when you get to tomorrow".

Ahh yes. That song, too, is evoking other memories now.

– Jeremy


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