Monday, May 6, 2013

On the Remindered Life

I forget things. Like, everything. Like, all the time. Recently, I've forgotten:

  • Whether I are breakfast
  • That I have to actually save money to pay for my cap and tassel
  • What day of the week it is
  • To get shampoo
  • Where I put my tea
And other stuff that I didn't subsequently remember. I have trouble remembering the details of my childhood in between the really specific random things I do remember. I don't remember what I did a month ago most days. I forget what I'm supposed to do for homework and when things are due.

So I've come up with something of a system to deal with this hole-filled memory that only seems to be able to properly hold onto things like the plot lines of every single episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, which episodes of X-Files are shippy and what it felt like to watch them for the first time, and what people are saying about Benedict Cumberbatch just now.

I keep a notebook on me. Well, actually, I keep a notebook by my bed, another in my purse and one on my desk (sometimes the same one as the bed-one). I keep ongoing lists of stuff I need to remember, and move them off the list and onto a calendar and a weekly planner (and sometimes also a daily planner, if I'm feeling really proactive) as they're needed. I constantly make notes to myself. I blog to I can cement details. I do guided journaling prompts for the same reasons.

And I've developed a network of tech assistance that I find helpful:
  • I use the Cortex plug in for Chrome. It lets me post directly to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, and I mostly use it on Tumblr, with a collection of tags I've made so I can find them again.
  • I use Peabrain on my phone. If I'm somewhere where I can't write a note, I send it to myself by texting Peabrain, and it's available online on my own private page, or through various reminders I can set up.
  • I use Everyday Me in email. It plugs into Twitter and Facebook and whatever and it sends me notes each day about what I was doing a year ago, or two years ago, or three years ago on that day, as far back as I have data for those things.
  • I use Oh Life and Penzu to journal from email. Both are very straight forward, and Penzu sends me prompts to follow, and Oh Life sends me reminders of what I wrote before.
Through this network of reminders, I've sort of built an off-loaded memory that lets the internet remember things for me. I know that I really should just do brain exercises and remember myself, but I think it's not in me; even as a kid, I remembered things spottily at best, and remembered the stories I made up for things way better than anything else. It's just how I'm built.

I do it to remember. And the side effect is that I have this objective list and feed of things that I've done and ways that I've felt. I can see some of my emotional and physical cycles. I can tell that in the spring I tend to get sick a lot and I need to take care of myself, because I have the reminders telling me that at this time last year and the year before, I was feeling cruddy. I can look at my own life and I can see that if I'm feeling the same way I was last year at this time, it's because there's a pattern that I obviously couldn't see on my own--and then I can support the good patterns and I can work on negating the bad ones.

I sometimes feel like it's narcissistic, focusing so much on my own mind like that. But I also think that it's helping me to not be narcissistic. I don't have to worry about this stuff, and I can look at it without having to slog through my emotional-flavored memories to try to figure out what was actually happening, and it allows me to be aware of myself and how I work.

It lets me work on being a better person, even as it reminds me about stuff I would have forgotten.

How about you? Do you have any reminder services, or off-loaded memory-keepers? Share in the comments!
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