What we remember

A million years ago (read: fourteen years ago), I was an avid user of LiveJournal. I must have hundreds of thousands of words on there about, well, whatever it is fourteen to roughly twenty year old me found important (mostly this was: boys, boy troubles, books, movies, and school…I lived a very mundane life).

Then, of course, everyone migrated from LiveJournal to Tumblr. This also coincided with my increasing uneasiness at just “putting everything out there” for the world (read: the three people who followed me) to see and read. So, I stopped long-form blogging for the most part. I tried here and there, especially when I started teaching, to re-start the habit, but I’d always fizzle out a few days or weeks later.

So, for the most part, all of my blogging for the past eight years has consisted of microblogging as befits the Tumblr setup – graphics and gifsets and pithy one-sentence comments on life.

And there’s nothing wrong with this, of course. I’ve actually found a great community on Tumblr and interacted with some really fantastic people.

The downside, though, is that I don’t remember anything any more.

Like, what exactly was I thinking when Charlie proposed that night seven years ago? Or, what was going through my mind when I walked into my classroom for the very first time? What happened at Christmas or New Year’s three years ago?

Who knows? Not I, unfortunately.

Because the thing is that what I remember from ages 14 to 20 is largely a result of what I wrote about. All those moments that seemed important enough to write about are now the things that I remember the most. And it’s not just a snapshot of images here and there – I’m more able to fully step into memories from that part of my life, relive them in a fuller way. I realize now that what we remember is largely about what we take the time to write down. What we capture, whether that be in print or in photo, is what we take with us going forward.

Because memory is such a tricky thing. And I’ve realized now that what most of my memories from that period of time are shaped by what I wrote about, whereas most of my memories from the last eight years are mostly shaped by photographs I managed to take.

Which isn’t necessarily bad – they’re certainly better than nothing at all. But I don’t have any reflection or recounting of those events. So all I can remember now is that one moment in time, captured in that photo.

So what I hope to do here is to do a better job at capturing life as I live it – what happened, yes, but also how it made me feel and what it made me think. Things that draw my enthusiasm. And, yes, things that draw my ire (of which there are plenty).

Finally, in terms of writing about my life – well, there’s a reason I chose the name Consummate Enthusiast (other than the fact that it describes me to a T). See, when I wrote about my life as a moody adolescent, I had so many posts that would be these long, drawn-out ramblings dripping with anguish and melancholy. This is funny to me now because my life was (and is) largely carefree and uncomplicated (or, at least the normal amount of complicated). But it’s also annoying because how I wrote about those things is now how I remember them.

And I don’t want to remember my life as one long angst fest. Because it really isn’t. And has never really been.

So, my hope with this go around at blogging is that my years of experience and maturity will allow me to approach writing about my life with more enthusiasm and less angst. Not, of course, to ignore any angst that I might feel, but to try and keep things in perspective.

So here’s to 2017 – may it be filled with an excitement for living and a passion for all things great and small.

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