We attach to memories in any way that we can. Internally, we’re scared of forgetting. We always want to remember the good times we’ve had with friends and the moments that we think have made us who we are. This attachment is so strong that we obsess over objects that remind us of our memories.
When someone dies, it’s common for loved one’s to keep clothing or anything that still smells like the person. We keep birthday cards, old letters, mixtapes our friends made, anything. We attach because we don’t want the memory to fade; we don’t want to forget.
Last year I had a rough time for many months. Music was one of the ways that I got through each day. I’d put on world’s end girlfriend and just listen. There was something chaotic about it that seemed to calm my mind. It defined my day-to-day life because in every free moment I had, music was playing.
Those old songs have come back on shuffle occasionally and the memories flood back in. I remember how hurt I was, how long the days were. Even more, I can’t stop playing the songs. I want to remember it all, to feel it again but to experience it in a different way.
The thing about these objects we attach to is that they are just object. They physically mean nothing. It’s just old clothing, paper and ink, and songs. At a base level, these objects have no significance – they’re just placeholders for a greater emotion.
What’s interesting is the more time we spend experiencing these objects, the more that they just become meaningless objects. That’s why the the more you eat your favorite meal, the less significant it becomes. The more you smell the clothing of that person you love, the less that you can smell it. It fades. The more that I listen to this music, the more that the old memories disappear.
I don’t know our relationship with objects and memories. What I do know is that I don’t want these thoughts to go away. I want to remember these emotions, the smells, the happy and the sad. The greater that I desire them, the more elusive they become. You can’t experience one emotion forever and you cannot live completely in the past. You can only look backwards, never walk backwards.