My memory is horrible. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast two days ago. If I really think for a moment I can remember what I had yesterday. I think I know why my memory is so bad: I never get a good night’s sleep. I went to a sleep specialist and was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea (where your oxygen supply is low when you sleep, disrupting when you go into REM sleep) I went on a breathing machine for a few months, but it didn’t really help because of my sinuses. The vast majority of my nights are dreamless. I’m not saying I dream and then just don’t remember, I mean pitch black dreamless. There are nights from time to time when I will have a dream, but forget what it was about when I wake up, but those nights are rare. Most of the time I just close my eyes and after a few moments open them again to another morning. I always wake up more tired that when I went to bed. It’s a horrible and depressing feeling. I suspect this dulls my memory since I never get to “recharge” at night.
There have been moments in life when I was truly happy. Moments like having a good time with some close friends, having something I worked hard on turn out well, or curled up next to someone who really cared about me. At those moments, when I was aware of how happy I was, I would pay extra close attention to all the details so I would remember the moment. I wanted to savor that feeling and bottle it forever so I could pull it out on a rainy day. The problem is, I can’t remember. I can’t remember any of it and it breaks my heart. I have “memories” but they’re mere images, and I have strong reason to suspect they’re images I’ve made up based on what I think my memory should be.
It’s all like the knowledge of taste. I know what a strawberry tastes like. I know what steak tastes like. I know what being curled up next to a lover on a Saturday morning feels like. I just can’t remember specific moments I’ve experienced these things and the subtle differences that made them specific.
The other problem is how we’re always living in the present. I eat pretty fast compared to other people. I often hear “Slow down, savor your food.” Why? What’s the point? I’m not going to remember eating it. So I feel good now while eating, that’ll be gone and forgotten the moment I’m done; like it never existed. When I was a 10, I would imagine what being 18 would be like. Before I knew what happened, I was 18. That was over 4 years ago. Yes there were 8 years in between then and when I turned 18, but I don’t remember experiencing them. (Sure I have images here and there of specific moments while growing up, but I don’t feel like I’ve experienced 8 years time.) Right now I’m wondering what being 36 will feel like. Before I know it, I’ll be 36. Sure I have 14 years to go, but when I’m 36 I won’t remember how it felt to live those 14 years. Then I’ll be 54, then 73, then dead and I won’t remember a damn thing. I’m constantly living in the present, whether I like it or not; always aware of the here and now, but never the past. I really wish I had a better memory.