Time Stamped: Triggering the Past

Just the other day, I was driving and saw a car.  Crazy, I know, seeing a car while you are driving, but this one was the same make, model, year and color as my best friend’s. I knew it couldn’t be her car, though, because she had taken hers to college, up in New England, a few weeks prior.  That got me thinking, though, about how I will forever associate that kind of car with her.  She has stained it for me.

Amazing how people can do that: stain something so mundane as a type of car.

It can happen to other things, as well. That’s the beauty of memories.  They can be rooted in the weirdest of things. A song, a grocery store, a scent. They can all trigger memories that have somehow found their way into our long term memory and been linked with those things and people.

Sometimes, an overwhelming wave of warm familiarity will wash over you when you smell something from your childhood.

Or maybe, it’s a song that takes you back to summer road trips with your best friends.

Other times, it can be an old TV show you used to watch with your ex, which makes everything just a little bittersweet.

While some things you will never be able to look at the same again, that’s not always a bad thing. I love whenever I’m unexpectedly bombarded with a memory that had since been dormant, but is now reminding me of special moments and special people in my life.

We don’t get to choose which memories our friends and family hold dear of us.  We also don’t get to choose which things we leave our imprint on for them. You just get to wait for the moment when you get a call from a distant friend who saw someone with the same glasses, which reminded them of you. Or a message from a family member that found a restaurant which sells biscuits that taste the same as your grandma used to make.

That’s all we want anyway, right? The reassurance that we are as special to someone as they are to us. That our memories with that person are as precious to them as they are to us?

It’s amazing how our brains can link things with people and memories.  It’s amazing how people can stain things in our minds forever.

Photo Credits: 1, 2