As I get older, I find I am getting more nostalgic. But it’s hard to be nostalgic about something I can’t remember. My short and long term memory is poor, so if I have any chance of remembering things that have happened in the past, I need a prompt.
I have a few old photographs, taken on film, but very few. It was just too expensive to record much, and those that were taken and printed have largely been lost.
I have a memory box, which is a collection of prompts from my very early years to the present day. But these are more a collection of possessions than memories so are a relatively poor prompt for what has happened.
Every so often, something will be said by someone, or a visual prompt will occur, often by visiting old haunts, that cause memories of events or places to return. Sometimes these come with strong feelings and emotions. But these are too infrequent. So to counter what feels like the onset of dementia and improve my recollections I take photographs.
Wherever I go I have a camera on me or close by. And I don’t just mean my phone. I record pretty much every event I’m involved in. The result of that is a large collection of memory prompts.
I organise my photos by year. And for each year, I have a folder called ‘Best of…’ In there are my memory prompts. I only need a couple of photos to bring back many of the memories from the event. What is hard to recall of events from the ‘old days’ is now so much easier due to the record I have via my photos.
I enjoy taking photographs; I get a lot of pleasure from it. But as I get older I recognise that there is wonderful benefit from having them; the memory is still available for recall and the prompt I need is at hand.
Just make sure you keep copies locally, not just on social media and don’t forget to back them up. What might seem like a bit of useless effort now to be organised may turn out to be a marvelous treasure trove in the future.