When I think about the different stages of my life I think about places. I associate memories with where I lived at the time, much like the ancient Greeks and Romans did with memory palaces as a method of remembering information. Even the old phrase, "Let's take a walk down memory lane," invites the mind to journey back to a metaphorical street in the past.
Our family has referenced this throughout the years, "Remember that time at 5088..." the house number serving like a passcode to a vault containing something precious. Even Lacie and I, when talking about the four years of our marriage will refer to the first apartment, the second, Cable Drive, the new house.
To a handful of my friends the numbers "3302" will immediately garner a sense of nostalgia, as we relish the great years spent together in our college apartment. I hear the nearby train rumbling our third story apartment, the "Welcome to Mario Kart" intro to the Nintendo 64 game, the raspy singing of Ray LaMontagne from the stereo beneath our makeshift tv stand.
For all of these places, all of these memories, I recognize one common thread: each was for a time (finite and precious), each was for a purpose (formed who I am).
I flip through the memories in my mind like a picture book, each chapter with a heading of the homes that served as the backdrop. In the footnotes are dates, showing that nothing lasts forever. And scribbled next to those dates are the lessons, the reasons, the undying truths.
I revisit them when I need a reminder of who I am, what's important, why I should be grateful. I punch in the codes 4962, 5088, 5092, 2341, 3302, 815, 1415, and I see the double-edged beauty this wonderful life has to offer replay over and over again.
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