Recollection

Day 1 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I must rely on vague and fading recollections to remember anything of my life that happened more than a decade ago. Any key events forward from around 2003, I start to have digital records to draw upon as a memory trigger. For instance, I can say with absolute knowledge that on 17 June 2006, I was playing with our new puppy, Indi. I recall this evening, but only by accessing the metadata of the photos can I know when it actually happened. Earlier this year, Indi died. So much time has passed.

Indi and I

With digital records now pervasive, recollection can be supported by hard data. No more complete reliance on a fuzzy memory.

I remember as a child playing at a friend’s house; I remember it seeming absolutely enormous. We spent the day running through the garden, up and down the stairs inside and around the giant lounge room. I can visualise it clearly. But I can’t say what year it was, where it was, or why I was there. My recollection of the scene is strong, but the situation is unknown. I don’t have the option of reviewing a geotag to be able to revisit the location as an adult. It’s a memory and nothing more.

My kids will experience a different world. All their life events have been captured, whether through photos, video, audio or journal entries written by their Dad. All those pieces of data have metadata. If they have a recollection in the future, it is likely they will be able to enter the date into their device of the time and bring up the evidence of the memory in glorious detail.

I wonder, though, if this will make their recollections richer, or whether the reality of the evidence at hand will diminish the richness of their mind’s eye?

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