Angry Birds and the Mists of Memory

How good is your memory for first experiences?

The working memory model
The working memory model says that memory is a series of looping loops. . . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already forgotten it by the time you’ve gotten it right; your first day at school is eclipsed by all the different memories you’ve made of pep rallies and theatre rehearsals, or soccer games; your first day as a parent is swallowed by the memories of your child learning to walk, to talk, to kiss, and blow bubbles with their spit; your first time blogging is obscured by milestones and achievements, the posts that stunned you with silence and those that baffled you with popularity – not to mention all the good bloggers who come and go, comprising your blog family.

For me, it seems that a lot of first times have been lost to the mists of memory, and yet this does nothing to mitigate the sheer importance of first times:

Memory collection
. . . while Sandisk, Kingston, and others say that memory is cheap and disposable. (Photo credit: teclasorg)

First times set precedents. They start the ball rolling on what you’re doing, sure – but there’s more to it than that. The first time I changed a car tire I had only seen it done before, but I jumped in and got it done. This one act sets a precedent for boldly going forth where no practical experience exists. A lot of people will shy away from doing new things, especially older ones. We saw a lot of that while the computer revolution was building up steam; some are afraid of change and some are afraid of failure. But kids do new stuff all the time, so why can’t we, am I right? In short, dare to do the new and you’ll find courage you never knew about.

First times set the stage. the first time you do something it’s almost never perfect, but it gives you something to go on. It gives you a baseline outcome that you can work with, whereas if you don’t try you definitely have failed to do it. There’s no way to improve that except to do it.

“Yeah, I don’t think the black scarf is working for me. Next time I should get the grey. That’s best for everyone, I think.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First times create opportunities for us to cultivate positive habits. Once you have your baseline, you can take that result and analyze it. Think about what you did that worked, what you could have done better, how the outcome and your action affected others – if you approach this task with humility and the view that it’s okay to be imperfect, you’ll get yourself in the habit of striving for improvement, thus assuring your future awesomeness.

That being said, there’s a reason why I’m not so good at remembering firsts: because I have a quality bias, and I like to celebrate my own awesomeness. Maybe that’s self-centered, but I don’t mind because I know that at the end of the post I’m doing what’s best for everyone else by focusing on making it great and leaving the firsts in the mists of memory.

What do you think, am I crazy for not worrying about remembering my firsts? Now that I’m a blogger I might get more neural oomph by writing it down, so there’s that. I’ll give you two, in brief: I remember meeting my wife in the repair shop at Eckroth Music, and feeling that movement where you know something good is in the air; and I remember the first time I held my daughter, when she was born, and thinking that she looked like an angry bird.

The red one.

This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.


  1. Thoughtful post, as usual. That’s what I appreciate about your responses to prompts – you often go beyond the “usual” and probe it.

    Remembering firsts – heh – so many of my “firsts” have long since been filed, and replaced by newer firsts, or just stuff. Only the really truthful – meaningful and “important” ones sit in the brain box. So you’re not alone. 🙂

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