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Life is a little unsatisfying

I don't remember what I had for lunch a week ago. Yet, I remember very clearly what I had for lunch several years ago when I fist visited Milan. It is because that first lunch in Milan is associated with a story that I tell myself about the start of a new life in a new city while the lunch I had last week has no such special story associated with it.

Our memories are not random. Not every single thing that we experience has equal weightage in the algorithm in our brains that decides what to remember and store in long term memory and what to discard after it expires from the short term memory.

What we remember is what we create stories around and what we forget is what we do not create stories around.

In that sense, our memories are not really raw memories. They aren't the equivalent of pointing a camera somewhere and turning it on, only to later retrieve the tape.

They are more like well directed and well edited movies. This is not to say that we edit to make changes to what happened or to alter facts that occurred, no. Instead, it is like embellishing what happened in a suitable lighting, zoom level, etc.

Our memories are not entirely true, but they aren't entirely false either. They are somewhere in between. And every time we retrieve them and relive them in our heads, we embellish that story a little more. So much so that when we look back far into our past, we see highly embellished versions of what really happened.

If we were to relive the same experience again, or come across something similar that reminds us of that time, it is because we have a well oiled narrative associated with that memory which the current moment doesn't have. Not right now, at least.

This is the whole premise of the Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris.

The core message of the movie is that no matter what age or era someone is living in, they will always feel that a different era that had come before their time is the golden era.

The present moment that we live in comes without any of the embellishments. It is as raw as it gets. It is mundane and it is boring and it is unsatisfying for the vast part.

But how we remember it tomorrow and the day after and years later is completely up to us. If we choose to tell a story that fills us with guilt and regret and sadness, then that is how we will feel. And if we choose to tell a story that fills us with joy and hope and optimism, then that is how we feel.

What is the story you are telling yourself?

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