Tickets for tonight's Sixers/Celtics game are going for as low as $1 on online ticket outlets. That is hard to believe. The fact that the Sox got both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in less than a week is also hard to believe- as is the Pats thumping of the Jets Monday night.
But closer to home, what is becoming increasingly hard to believe is the memories of things I've done in the past. I've found, as the years go on and priorities change, that the further I get from things in my life, the harder it is to believe that I actually did them. They become less the memories of me personally, and more the memories of someone who looks like me. My memories have become photographs- but not photographs of me currently, but photographs of someone else.
For example, the fact that I once played in a band grows harder and harder to fathom the further I get from those handful of years when I was running ragged, playing drums for Sidecar back in Portland. It's been over four years since my last show with them. We were only together for three before I left. This is less about their evolution and more about my falling off the face of the Sidecar earth. Just like I am a completely different person than I was on the night of our last show, they are a completely different band. A few weeks ago, I caught a video of one of our last show's on YouTube and it looks like someone else playing drums. It was a struggle for me to remember what I was feeling when that video was shot. Not being able to do so made it harder to connect and in turn, harder to remember the actual show. It wasn't enough to watch the video- I wanted to watch my thoughts and go back to how it felt playing that show. That's what I can't remember and that's what bothers me.
I was watching someone else play that show- someone wearing a t-shirt I sometimes miss more than the band.
The same goes for thinking back to working on the boats, crazy hippie days in college, and the endless attempts to fit in back in high school.
I don't remember what it felt like to do all of these things. I don't remember what I was thinking or more specifically, how I was thinking. I can't relate to the person in those memories, even though that person was me. It's an awkward feeling as it's our memories that keep us grounded and rooted in history. If they don't seem like my memories, than who's memories are they?
Does Bryan O'Donnell actually exist? I thought it was just a clever name to use when I got written up in college.
But are memories really that important?
Sometimes I feel telling old stories and recollecting the past comes off as self-centered. Would I be a better person, boss or lovable fiance if I ditched them all and committed myself to living in the present? Who really cares if I took Ultimate Frisbee as a class or if Sidecar played the State Theater for the first time during a blizzard? I'm not sure if people do. I'm not sure if I do. I'm not sure if, as I get older, these things matter nearly as much as I thought they did at the time. They certainly don't seem to matter in the grand scheme of things. Neither one made me a better person or affected the kind of person I am today.
So do they even matter?
And whether or not they do- does it matter if I can remember them correctly or not?
I'm starting to think that memories, at least from ages 0-30, only serve one purpose and it's the same purpose that photographs in an album serve- things to look at and make you smile. They are not contextual or self-serving or life-altering. They are not multi-dimensional. Memories don't have feelings and at best, only create new feelings. Unfortunately for me, they are feelings of confusion because I get caught up in the fact that I can't relate to the person in those memories, even though that person is me.
I should have kept a diary.
Or maybe I should have constantly written notes to my future self, providing insight to my memories and an internal context for them that would allow me to relate to them better.
In the future, I would recommend memories with footnotes* because as the years pass and the memories get further away, I could use help relating to them. That dude who looks me sure had some fun and it would be interesting to know more about that fun so that maybe someday it can be recreated, re-enjoyed, and re-lived.
Except the Ultimate Frisbee class.
You really only need to take one of those.
* like this for example- right now you are reading into things too much and should just go take a shower.