This is AJ & Free from 106 & Park. We need to have a talk if you don’t know who they are. They were part of my high school life from Monday-Friday at 6pm and a definitive part of what my music taste and lifestyle choices are today. But this isn’t a post about them. It’s about what they represent; a memory, a moment in time that I associate with simplicity and youth. I’m a very nostalgic person. I can recall moments and events as if they just happened and my friends and family can attest to that. We rely on our memories not only for sharing or learning from our past experiences but we also use it for crucial things like creating a sense of personal identity.
Nostalgia, by definition, is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. It’s associated with a yearning for the past, its personalities, its possibilities, its events -- the “those were the good old days,” we often say. It’s a form of melancholy and a trope in romanticism.
Yet evidence shows that our memory isn't as consistent as we’d like to believe. We’re often guilty of changing the facts and embellishing details to our memories without even realizing.
Think of our memory as a game of the telephone game: each time we form a memory, some parts might be misheard or misunderstood, innocently altered, improved, or forgotten. Over time the message becomes different from the original. It becomes a memory of the memory, then a memory of that. There are countless reasons why tiny mistakes or embellishments might happen each time we recall past events, ranging from what we believe is true or perhaps even what we wish was true.
Whether or not you ever actually discover any small or large changes that have occurred, it’s unlikely that our treasured memories are 100% accurate. Remembering is an act of storytelling. And memories are only as reliable as the most recent recall we have of them.
The good news is that we also have the future that ensures we make new memories, sometimes without even realizing we’re making them while they happen. We have the moment in front of us, and the moment ahead of us to look forward to. And while I do sometimes yearn for the simpler days of discovering new music from these two people who I only knew from in front of a TV screen, I chose to believe what is waiting for me is exceedingly better than anything I am leaving behind, and the best really is yet to come.