Reference points

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tags: · personal ·

I can never remember when things happened in the past. Unless there was something specific about the date or year, I simply can’t recall the details. How many years ago did I buy my car? How long have I lived in this apartment?

The only way that I can figure out when something happened is by tying it to a reference point: one of the few dates that I actually remember. Some of the reference points are obvious due to their significance, while others appear minor even though they’ve lodged themselves in my mind.

  • I remember that I turned 13 during my first year at Rogue Community College. If an event happened before that, then I know we’re looking at pre-2000 years.

  • I remember that I started my current job on May 16th, because that was payday. Julie came around the office with paychecks, and told me that if I stuck around for two more weeks, I could get one too.

  • I remember that I worked for Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass from 10/03 to 10/06, because it was exactly three years.

  • I remember that I married Mory on 6/6/10, because if we had married 4 years earlier, it would’ve been 6/6/06.

  • I remember that the Omen came out 6/6/06 because it was the only movie I remember that exploited the date. The Dreamcast also came out on 9/9/99, which is also a reference point.

  • I remember that I bought my car on July 4th, because I was going to Fry’s for their Independence Day sale when we stopped by the Honda dealership.

  • I remember that I was never at home after I turned 16, so most of my memories with friends in Oregon were from 2003-2007.

If it weren’t for my handful of reference points, I wouldn’t know when anything happened. I just try to find the closest reference point to whatever I’m trying to remember, and then do some math to figure out when it actually happened. I have tried keeping a journal in the past, but I never kept it updated and it never worked the way I wanted it to. At work, my inbox is my timeline, allowing me to go back to the past. I like Facebook’s idea with timeline, but again, I don’t update there and so it’s not very valuable to me. Twitter only contains my fleeting thoughts and jokes, which makes it a poor guide to the past.

I guess I’m stuck with my reference points.