This morning has been a lazy one. I've been reading a bit, journalling and taking it slow. Amongst all that I caught myself scrolling back through my Instagram feed, with vivid memories re-arising as I went.
Memories are special. They're also strange. I don't really get how they work. Though I don't really get how anything works, really. Especially the brain.
In his epic book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman shares two modes in which we live our lives. The experiencing self, and the remembering self.
These two selves are quite different, and which we prioritise can have big impacts.
The experiencing self is all about the moment. This is about being present in our experiences, living life rather than thinking about it. The experiencing self simply doesn't have time to think deeply, as moments never stop flying by. Most of the work here is done in our subconscious.
The remembering self is us trying to piece together a narrative of the events gone past. This is where our slower, rational, conscious thinking occurs.
In our day to day lives, we can choose to serve our experiencing selves or our remembering selves.
Our experiencing self does not want to go to the gym. Our remembering self does.
Our experiencing self does not want to take a photo at that gig. Our remembering self does.
Our experiencing self does not want to clean up after a late meal. Our remembering self does.
So which self should we serve? Which options should we choose? Unfortunately it's not as simple as one should win out over the other all the time. As with everything, it depends.
At times in my life I optimise more for the experiencing self. Putting my phone away at a gig and being in the moment. Putting my phone away when having coffee with a friend, and looking them in the eye.
At other times the remembering self deserves prioritising. There's always some resistance to me putting on my trainers before going for a run. But I know that I want to continue to create memories of me making good, healthy decisions. The remembering self wins here.
Ultimately, I understand very little about memories. What I do know, is that living the same day over and over again is not a good way to create them.
Life is best lived when we regularly push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Sure, there are times for rest. Times like this morning. But memories aren't made here, they're remembered.
In some ways, one of our jobs is to keep our memory book well stocked with memories we can be proud of. That's the plan for the rest of today.