Be Careful How You Edit the Past

We are the product of all we have encountered. Like most of you, I have engaged in revisionist history when it comes to the narrative of my life. Like Professor Slugworth’s muted memories of Tom Riddle we blend together, erase and dub over the parts that might reflect poorly on us or that caused us great pain. This is normal and perhaps even a bit healthy.

Recently, I was reminded of some of the dangers of our life redactments. I had the opportunity to visit with a friend from high school.  Someone who had been a great friend then but, as happens in life, we lost connection for 29 years. We connected via social media a year or two ago but nothing more than seeing each other’s family pics, etc.

As he and I reminisced I was reminded of moments that were transformational for me. Moments that helped determine my direction and ultimately led me to become the person I am now. So much of that time of life was painful for me that in my attempt to forget the pain I unintentionally redacted much of the good, even parts that were formative and essential to who I am now.

My walk down memory lane with this friend had a real impact on me. It made me wonder how much I may have missed by trying to move on from who I was. I reflected on others I owe a thank you to, people who saw me for what I could be, not just who I was. In my rush to move on I have overlooked key events, experiences and most importantly people that helped me grow into the person I am now. A person I like very much.

Memory is a funny thing. I wonder how years of filtering the past have warped our perception of the reality of what was. I guess none of us every really experience life as it is but more as we think it is. In an age were we put a premium on authenticity I wonder what role our filtered memories play on who we are or who we think we are.

So I think I’ll be brave and try to review the past. Looking for my own story through a less clouded lens. Looking for those moments that helped me set a course to the destination I am now at. More than just forgiving my past me, I want to understand him, thank him and those along the way who helped me find the version of myself I was always meant to be