Today is my birthday.
I’m well into my “late-2o’s.”
At this point, I can only remember with (decent) accuracy roughly 68% of my life.
My earliest memory is when I’m not much more than 2. I’m standing in a playpen at the first house I ever lived in, and I’m watching my uncle go about the living room.
Later in life, I learn this is probably when my sister was born, and my uncle came to look after my brother and me.
Later in life, I can’t picture the memory as clearly, only that at one point this was the furthest back I could remember to.
At twenty eight, I reflect on how far back I can remember to.
There are highlights from elementary school-age, and things that I forgot happened.
But, then I find them in pictures and I can remember a little bit better afterwards.
I think I’m about nine in my earliest memories that are a bit clearer.
Which makes approximately nineteen years of my life up to this point.
How strange to think that the first nine years of my life are just amiss in the minds of other people.
How strange to wonder how far away nine will be next year, and will it still seem as clear then?
And even as I get to be the kind of age that you think of adults as being–I still have trouble sometimes sorting out exactly how old I was when certain events took place.
Or what year it was when this thing or that happened.
See… I have to think about it before I know for sure–or at least have a good guess.
Age is a weird concept.
Some days… I can play around like I’m five.
Or carry on a conversation like I’m eighty five.
Sometimes, this happens in the same day.
I have one grey hair that I know of.
But I can still stay up until midnight.
So… what does it even mean to be twenty eight? It feels much more natural than how old it sounded, even when I was twenty.
But, I also begin to worry about how much of my life I’ll remember when I’m seventy.
A patient at work the other day told me all about his life when he was ten.
And his family vacations when he was growing up with surprising detail.
He’s eighty two now.
I’m so desperate some days to hold on to everything that happens, that I’ll take hundreds of pictures to document it, to have something to prove to myself one day that “this happened.”
To have a memory instead of just a thought of one.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in it, I hope I’m storing the details in my head, too.
But we never really know until we get a couple years past it, looking back.
So here I am.
And I try to think about everything that’s happened.
And wonder about everything that comes next.