Living Out Loud volume 24: Total recall

A few weeks ago I was watching 60 Minutes (because I'm old)and they had a fascinating segment on superior autobiographical memory. This handful of people can literally remember everything about their lives. Every single detail! It struck me because as my parents have been enjoying the wonderful world of being grandparents, my father in particular has been experiencing it all as if it's his first time. He just keeps saying over and over, "I just don't remember this with y'all kids. I don't know where my head was."

This all got me thinking about memories and what makes them stick. As Rich says, he can tell you all the lyrics to Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" but has trouble remembering his own ATM PIN at times. The TV segment said that adrenaline helps set memories for people. That's why more people remember what they were doing on September 11 versus September 10, 2001. But I've also heard that brain chemicals can blur some of those memories, blocking out painful moments. Another interesting factor was that forgetting some details is what helps us generalize things and make logical assessments.

I've been on vacation the last week or so and been meaning to write about all this. But I'm rallying to get this topic for our Living Out Loud project. I'm curious what moments in your life are vivid. What are your personal snapshots where you could describe the scene down to everyone's wardrobe and the song on the radio? Was there a particular scent in the air? Was it hot or cold? When it was happening did you think it would be a moment you'd never forget or did your sharp memory surprise you? Do you generally trust your memory?

Details include:

  • Write something personal about yourself using the previous paragraphs as a guideline. Do not feel that you have to address each prompt above. The spirit of this project is to share something about yourself; I'm just throwing out ideas.
  • Once you have completed your entry and posted it, please email me the link at genie [at] inabottle [dot] org. Remember, if you don't email me, I'm likely to forget to include you in the recap!
  • If you do not have a blog to host your story, you can email me the story directly and I will add it here as a guest post giving you credit. The more the merrier!
  • The due date for entries is Sunday, January 9th (the second Sunday of the month) at 5pm Eastern.
  • Once I have collected all the entries, I will post a wrap-up to list them all and announce a winner. The winner will receive a small prize but all participants will receive fame and glory and a link on our Living Out Loud blogroll.

I've only given you a week to rack your brains for those photographic moments, but I'm super excited about this topic while we're feeling all retrospective at the cusp of a new year. Share your memories with us!