Moments of Impact
I have a very selective memory for dates. When I think about the past decade, which was essentially half of my existence, I can normally remember the exact day that anything of significance happened to me. Often, I can recall the day of the week it was and a detailed context around the moment, as well. I don't just mean that I remember major celebrations and losses, I remember when I met new friends, when I got bad news, when I took an exam, or when I started a job. Even more specific, I remember days that I felt major shifts in what I believed and days that my perspective on a situation completely changed. Though it's a little bit strange, I've grown to appreciate the fact that I really can't forget anything. I'll admit that it can definitely be a negative quality when it comes to letting things go and moving on; I tend to dwell on things far longer than I should. But, more often than not, these memories allow me to connect the dots when I'm analyzing a situation. I believe that everything we experience is a moment, good or bad, that we were specifically prepared for. Your reaction to that event is the culmination of the choices and experiences that came before, and your reaction sets the tone for the next moments.
Essentially, every single choice and every single moment has a direct effect on the character you're building and the culture of your life. If you don't make a point to remember where you were, you will never understand how you got to where you are. It's an old cliche, but it applies to more than just big events; it applies to lessons learned. If you can't remember why your opinions changed and why your outlook shifted, how can you possibly understand how to make future decisions?
Sometimes, I like to think about what my ten year old self would think about the person I am now. We all had expectations for the people we were going to become, and we all had values that we assumed we would always abide by. I think there are a lot of things that I would like about myself now and be proud of, but I also think there are a lot of decisions I've made that my ten year old self would be confused by because they weren't in "the plan". We all have these paradoxes, but, the important question is, do you currently understand why you made those decisions, and what are you doing about them now? If you can't answer those questions with clarity, then you will feel just as confused at age 30 and 40 and 50 when you reflect back on your life.
Memories can be a worrisome thing because they aren't all pretty, but they all represent moments that had an impact. Learn to recognize and analyze the points of high impact in your life so that you know why you are who you are.