Sunday afternoon. I find myself with some time on my hands. I’ve done the Christmas shopping (don’t you love the interweb? I have family with obscure wishlists you just can’t fulfill by going to the local shops) and most of my chores around the house. What next? Spurred on by Fish of Gold and Rarasaur I had a look at the Daily Post, just in case I could come up with some scribble for the day. And what do you know? I got 2 in 1 – today’s prompt and yesterday’s all wrapped in one:
I must have been about 5 years old. It was a balmy July day, and my mum had decided to take us to the seaside. Yay us! We couldn’t wait to get into our swimsuits, fumbling inside a bathing towel mum held up around us. Slap on some sunscreen – or did we not even bother with that in those days? I can’t remember – and we sped into the surf. Mum stayed with the cooler bag and the towels on the beach. Reading, probably, although I wasn’t following that at the time. She must have been, because otherwise there would have been no place for the Hero in my story.
We rolled around in the waves until we were cold and hungry. Well I was. I left the waves to roll on without me, turning to the beach. What a vast expanse of sand. I started walking in the general direction of where I knew my mum must be. How could I have drifted off so far? I plodded on through the wet sand, the broken bits of shell hurting my feet. And then I stopped. Right in front of me was a colony of jellyfish run aground in the sand, waiting for high tide to take them back to sea. They were the nasty stingy ones, and they were everywhere. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t dare cross the jelly field, and I couldn’t see a way around it. Why wasn’t my mum here to help me? Where was she anyway? I must have started crying, for suddenly a man appeared next to me out of nowhere, asking if I wanted help getting across the jellies? “Yeyeyeyessss please…” I must have stuttered. All I can remember is being scooped up and carried around or across the nasties and delivered safely on my own two feet in dry sand. My Hero! Whom I will never know. And then my mum came running.
Forgetting is bliss, I have come to realise. I no longer worry about it. On the contrary, I relish and cultivate it. Forgetting allows my mind to sift the fluff from the meaningful, the horrible from the warming. It means I don’t necessarily have to get wound up about the bad stuff, I can park it in the “forget it” lot. It also means I don’t always have to forgive: I can choose to forget instead. Which makes me feel a whole lot better. I don’t want to forgive people who have done horrid things to me, but I won’t let them win by having them ruin my happiness either. Forgetting is the perfect solution. If they have been truly horrible I trust my memory to jig me if I ever were to cross their path again. Just in case I have an opportunity to return the favour. Should I want to. I am not sure I would want to, but I like to keep my options open.
Forgetting is also plain practical. By only remembering the important things I can unclutter my mind and find the information that matters more quickly. I admit that I tend to make a note of very important things – hell I even set reminders for the must-dos. That is not cheating: it is relieving my mind and telling it not to worry. Belt and braces. Mind can’t do wrong – relax.
I can tell you with my hand on my heart that I have never, so far, forgotten anything that really mattered. I have lost lots of trivia on the way, but that just means I can rediscover them as new should I ever come across them. Of course I wouldn’t know it wasn’t the first time.
I read that the mind hardwires circuits it uses frequently, making those paths top of the list in your mind. It is a virtuous circle, and it provides scientific proof for my empirical advice. So, try the forgetful strategy or ignore at your peril.