Sometimes we don’t know, or want to know, big worldly truths. International politics. Fast-moving viruses. The Earth’s climate crises. And there are smaller personal truths that we also cannot always, or do not, want to see. I acknowledge one here: I am forgetting things. Names. Words. It’s as if “my friend’s name is Grace” or “that synonym for essence is spirit,” are hidden in the computer-discs in my scull, and I can’t download them. I talk to myself, “I know this,” or “I should know this.” And maybe the memory appears eventually but only after my brain loops through mental gymnastics. “That friend lives in Boston. She owns a business; what’s it called? Her daughter’s name is Jane. Her name begins with G. Oh, YES, Grace!”
We all do this, right?
It’s not only forgetting. It’s losing things. Keys. Most of the time, the keys live in the crumb-catcher console between my car’s two front seats. But sometimes I drop them into the outer pocket of my purse, or—worse— into the purse’s inner cavern which requires rummaging past the buried wallet, isolation masks, and a few loose pens. I often forget where I later throw my purse. In that nook on the kitchen floor? In my bedroom closet? On the back of my desk chair? So then, where are the keys?
I hate to lose things. I hate to lose time, the minutes it takes to search for misplaced items. And I hate to forget things. Well, not things so much. I have extra keys. But people, memories. In these times when a certain future is, well, uncertain, I don’t want to forget what was precious to me as a wide-eyed girl; the exquisite sweet aroma in my grandmother’s kitchen as she turned her delicate fingers to mold the magic of molasses taffy. I want to be able to reach back into how we stirred her rich chocolate brownie batter together and my trick of sneaking into her pantry later to steal some of my grandfather’s Spanish peanuts.
I’ve forgotten the recipe for her sweets, not my grandparents’ sweetness. I do not want to forget what is often called the lightness of being I felt then, especially in the heaviness of today’s world. I bet none of us wants to lose or forget the feelings and spontaneity of who we were as kids, before we settled into adulting, having to pay bills, binge-watching Netflix. treating adult-onset illnesses, or recovering from addictions we learned along the way.
At the start of 2022, I’ve asked people, “do you make New Year’s Resolutions?” Most say, “No”, to which I say, ”me neither.”
But I am resolving to wake up every day with a request from the universe: May I not forget. In the the darkness of Covid, climate catastrophe, Russia invading Ukraine, economy tanking, may I remember, may we remember, the scents of youth, the people who loved us, the feeling of their warmth, and the light in our center which recalls the kid in us. May we remember.
I’m not sure how, exactly. I know it has something to do with not forgetting, of not losing the keys to our hearts. We can feel the long-ago feels, bring the yummy aliveness into our bodies, if only in our imaginations. We can tap into the spirit we knew in our youth that we have forgotten or let slip, the smiles, the laughter, the hugs. We can choose the essence, the being-ness of who we were, and the grace of who we still are now. And then, we will not have lost time.