These days I’ve been worrying a lot about forgetting. Specifically, I worry I will forget the moments that, no matter how fleeting, may or may not be important in the grand scheme of things, e.g., my Life, from birth until death, whenever that may be.
The other day I stumbled upon a tweet saying that one must document their life. Take photos. Write notes. Take videos. I haven’t been doing any of that, or at least not with the intent of “documentation.” Yes, I have been taking pictures of the dishes that I cook (and posting them online), but only because I need to convince myself that home cooking is better (read: more economical) than buying takeout food. I have no recent pictures of anything else — the places I’ve gone to, the people I’ve hung out with, etc.
When I was younger — teens, early twenties — it was pretty common for the edgelords on the internet and in real life to scoff at people who take pictures of everything. Live in the moment, you weirdoes! Stop taking videos of the fireworks or the concert or your food!
I was one of those edgelords or, dare I say, laggards. The early adopters of modern technology (e.g., phone cameras) probably have albums and albums of captured memories. Meanwhile, stubborn dipshits like myself are left with memories stored in our heads, and these memories are getting hazier and hazier as we age.
(I’m not even that old and I already feel like a relic.)
I guess I do have this blog, which for the most part has become witness to the rare intersections between having nothing much going on in my life and having the energy to write about the nothingness of it all.
I read a poem somewhere, or maybe it was just a tweet — something about diaries being empty on days when things are actually happening in real life. (It was a expressed a lot more eloquently than that, but you get the point.)
There’s also a quote by Andy Bernard from one of the final episodes of The Office. “I wish there was a way to know you’re in ‘the good old days’ before you’ve actually left them.”
Word, Andy. Word.
But is it really that important to remember? Is it not enough to have experienced Something, regardless if that thing stays with you or not?
In many ways, remembering trumps forgetting. One of the most important battle cries of this generation is “Never Forget.” There are extremely dangerous implications associated with complete, or even partial, erasures of the past. But I would say, though, that remembering — and putting in the effort to not just remember, but to actually understand and study and empathize — was a lot easier when I was younger.
Priorities shift as we age. Every day I think about keeping a satisfying career, I think about the increasing prices of food, I think about the excruciating commute to work and back. At the end of each day all I want to do is distract myself from Life’s stressors and escape.
All the efforts I exert to escape are done for no other reason but to have fun. Watching a movie? Who cares about the bigger social context in which the film exists. Reading a book? Terry Eagleton and his Marxist literary theory can suck it. Perceiving life through a critical lens was a lot easier when I was younger, when I was still in school surrounded by similar minded folks.
Remembering takes work, man. Going beyond remembering requires even more work.
But this isn’t to say that I have forgotten. I still hold the same values and beliefs that I held when I was a student. I just don’t think I’m capable of speaking on the details because, at this point, I feel incapable of picking through the details.
Think of Life as as a horizontal line, the x-axis in the Cartesian plane, so to speak. Imagine that this line is marked with small ticks spaced equally to indicate Age, starting from 0 then 1 and so on.
Imagine a person (i.e., me) walking along that line. When I was in my teens, I walk along that line looking down, trying my best to pick up every critical tool that I can possibly carry with me on my journey — every hammer, every nail, all of it. As I get older, I also start picking up other weights — all the responsibilities that one simply cannot forego in a society that expects people to earn money, incur debt, get married, etc. As things get heavier, I begin dropping the critical tools that I thought I would bring with me forever.
TLDR: the older I get, the dumber I become.
I wonder where I’ll end up five, ten years from now. Will I stay in the same job? Will I ever afford buying a house? Will I ever get married?
I worry about forgetting, but I also worry about the future. Specifically, I worry about growing old alone. My friend O and I spoke about this on the very first day of 2023. She told me she’s worried about never having enough money, so she works extremely hard to make sure that her investments are doing well and her savings are consistently growing. Meanwhile, I don’t think I put in enough effort to search for a lifelong partner.
Do I even want a partner? I worry about not choosing the right person. I worry about not being chosen.
Man, this is getting depressing. I guess this is enough worrying for today. To borrow a quote from one of the best movies I’ve seen recently: “I wasted so much time worrying about what could go wrong, but what did go wrong, was never the things I worried about.”
Ahh. If only movies had all the answers to Life’s questions — wouldn’t that be dandy?