The Best Memories Are Statistically Proven To Be The Ones You Can't Remember

by Lauren Martin

Remember that night? You know the one. That one you can’t remember anything about, yet you can still feel everything? The night you can really only remember by feelings you had during it?

That feeling of happiness, a contentment you hadn’t felt in a while. And love. You remember feeling all this love. This all-consuming adoration you had for your friends, your life and that very moment you can hardly remember.

I’m talking about those nights you shared with your best friends, or your family or those friends who became family while abroad. Those long days that turned into nights, strolling through parks, cities and just feeling so damn happy to be alive.

You go back there a lot. You revert to the time and the place, letting it settle in your mind, letting the feelings of that night flood over you. You see moments, flashing and fleeting, and faces of people you once loved, now love or still love.

You remember those feelings the way you remember a birth or a wedding. They are intense, and all-consuming. You will live 20 years and still feel the weight of them. Those emotions still come rushing back, filling your body, even if the images don’t.

There are no photos, videos or digitized tokens from that night. You can’t soar back to it with a simple glance of a photo or Facebook link to a video you’re praying to God you’re not in. They are memories that weren’t published or clicked on.

There’s just you and the vague recollection of a great time. It’s something just you and your friends can try to recall, only when you're together, bringing it up and revisiting those feelings all over again.

You can’t see the time or the place, but you remember the laughter and the fun you were having. You remember the love you had for each other, and that love comes back. 

That's what makes these moments so special, because moments that haven't been digitized and missed because of some technology, are rare.

According to the annual Internet trends report distributed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’s, we're on our phones an average of 150 times throughout the day.

That's 150 times we stopped looking around and just looked down. It's 150 times we refused to be part of the moment, and removed ourselves to digitize it. That's 150 times out of a small window of 24 hours that you missed a moment.

According to the data, compiled and presented by analyst Mary Meeker, more than 500 million photos are shared every day, with that figure expected to double in the next year.

That's 500 million times people stopped having an experience to document one. That 500 million times throughout the day that we took ourselves out of the moment and refused to live in it.  That's 500 million pictures of experiences we're not really having. That's why those moments we're not recalling through a photograph or scrolling past on Facebook are the ones we remember the best.

The best memories we hold, the ones that will stay with us for the rest of our lives and relieve us in our darkest moments are not ones we can recall through a photograph or relive through a video.

They are the ones we can’t really remember, can’t sift through our iCloud or send to friends. They are the ones that we lived, experienced and refused to take a second away to try and store for later.

You're in the moment rather than behind a screen

The moments you can’t run through on your Facebook feed are the ones you want to keep with you. There is no such thing as the captured moment, only a frozen one. Only ones where you’ve stopped being part of the moment and instead become part of a memory; it became a stolen shot. They're the pictures, videos and tweets that take us out of the moment and prevent the memory from every really forming.

According to a study reported in Daily Mail, at peak times, the average person checks his device around nine times an hour. Checking it almost every six seconds during evening hours, some people unlock their phones over 900 times over an 18-hour period.

It's the moments you didn’t stop to take out your phone or Go Pro. It’s the time you actually danced to the music rather than stood there filming. They’re the moments you didn’t stop to take a picture, making your friends turn around or judging the aesthetic rather than appreciating it.

Yes, maybe you can’t remember it clearly now, can’t see it for a reminder or add the photo to your friend's slideshow, but you can still feel it.

You care about what you’re doing now rather than thinking how you’ll look later

We have our social selves and then our social media. Our face and then our Facebooks. Our profiles then our prof pics. Everyone lives a double life: the one you see and the one you stalk.

There’s the side people see out with you... the wild, dirty, messy, sometimes ugly person you are when you’re just being you. Then there’s the cyber you. The cool, hot, always-smiling and having-a-great-time you.

The one who is always at concerts, parties and fabulous fashion shows. You’re looking great, in a fabulous outfit with some fabulous people around you. You’ve done so many cool things. Look, you have the photos to prove it.

And that's great for you. You definitely made some people jealous, definitely created a life others might even admire. But those pictures don’t compare to the moments you shared secretly and intimately with a select few.

Your fake life doesn't compare to your real one, the one that people will never know or be able to "like." You don’t have the moment you ran into Alec Baldwin on the street and shook his hand. No, just you and him hold that moment, no proof.

You don’t have the pictures of those original moments when you were just living. Those ones with your friends, laughing over something you won’t remember in an hour. The moments you forgot to take a photo and just enjoyed it the way it was meant to be: unfocused.

You concentrate harder on how it makes you feel than how it looks

You remember the feeling of the concert, not how close you were to the stage. You remember the rush of the music, not the sound quality you’re able to get on your phone. You remember the energy, the raw electric pulse around you, not just the perfect selfie you could take with the maximum stage view behind you.

Every time you do that, every time you take seconds or minutes to create the perfect reenactment of your experience, you're actually taking away from it. You're taking away from the bigger picture, the raw moment and trying to make it something.

Focusing so much on the aesthetic quality of our experience is trying to take something that’s already real and beautiful and copy it. It’s like taking an original and ruining it so you can create 100 knock-offs.

It’s like ripping apart and selling pieces of a perfect piece of fabric, until it’s just little scraps and fragments that don’t mean anything.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr