Despite our best intentions and efforts, it is inevitable at some stage that we will all get things wrong and make mistakes. In the past our mistakes were easy to distance and forget. But because we now live in a world where the internet records everything and forgets nothing we may be losing the ability to choose what we carry forward into our futures. This is threatening our opportunity to reinvent ourselves and start fresh by overcoming our pasts. The ability of something from our past to interrupt our present has been amplified by technology. But forgetting is important, it allows us to leave previously experienced humiliations behind and continue on with optimism. It encourages us to remember what is important rather than a detailed recording
Forgetting is a fact of life and it happens to us all, its annoying and it seems to get in the way, but actually “forgetting” is a perfectly normal chunk of memory, in fact it’s an essential part of how our memory works. Its important that we let irrelevant information fade away to prevent our brains from overfilling. Our memories are designed to be selective for a reason. If parents had a detailed memory of the first six months of parenthood most would never have any more children and humans as a species would disappear. While I’m not in any way qualified to dispense parenting advice, I am a two time survivor of the first six months of child raising. It’s a time typified by some of our proudest and worst moments as a human being. Feelings of boundless almost unbearable amounts of love combined with fleeting thoughts of fleeing the house and abandoning the child! But luckily the good memories come to the forefront of our minds when reminiscing. Running is no different. Runners will fail far more than they succeed and probably have more bad experiences than good. After some races If we didn’t forget the pain and feeling of failure we’d never run again!
In the past we all made blunders, but these mistakes and failures weren’t recorded on an iPhone, Facebook, GPS watch or STRAVA. Fortunately the limits of human memory meant these “sins” were eventually forgotten. But the enduring memory bank of the Web means it’s impossible to escape our digital signature. So now often the worst thing you’ve done is the first thing that people know about you. Some have suggested that just like the human brain technological storage devices could be programmed to delete photos, records, Blog posts and other DATA once they have reached a pre agreed expiration date, thereby bringing us much closer to a world where our DATA doesn’t linger in our background forever. Ultimately being able and allowed to forget our failings and mistakes is about the safeguarding of our freedom by preserving our right to be liberated from the past and reinvented in the present. For balance in life and running, both the conservation of memory and forgetting are central, because we are the authors of our own memoirs.