Thoughts On 2020, Coping and Trying To Remember

Photo by Steph Ortiz

I have terrible memory

It was only when I started working at my first job at 18 years old that I discovered the power of writing down notes

Prior to that, I had wasted an abundance of paper in the form of

Lock diaries that I would of course lose the keys to

Excessive coffee drinking for Starbucks planners that would only mark the January 1 page with my New Years Resolution that I will never see again

And journals with empty promises of being written on.

If I had lived in an era without Facebook birthday notifications, I would probably be left with disappointed friends and relatives.

To date, I only remember my parents birthdays, an aunt who’s like a second mother to me (who has reprimanded me for forgetting her birthdays) and an ex boy friend whose birthday is after 9/11.

I can still feel the judgement when people find out I don’t know my beagle Pablo’s birthday – as one should know is the love of my life.

In my attempt to lose weight over quarantine, I had subscribed to a free trial of My Fitness Pal to track the meals and calories I would eat daily

Only to end up sitting down across our house helps (who at the time, were my only companions that were stuck at home too) asking what I had eaten the past days, sometimes even weeks, trying to catch up with my tracker when my notifications successfully prompt me.

Might I add, I had forgotten to cancel that free trial too, so now I have a 1 year subscription to an app I would probably never use again, even if I tried to remember.

I apparently also have an annual subscription to an app called Productive and a language learning app Babel, which by the way, same scenario, I forgot to opt out. And yes, I am no longer using them too.

No thanks to COVID-19, I found that after being in isolation for 9 months, I can only remember one date March 15, 2020 – the day my hometown, Manila, announced lockdown.

I feel I should find it quite worrisome that I have to mention I went through a virtual break up some time in those 9 months and as you would guess, I don’t remember the date.

And even worse is, I don’t really remember much from the 3 years or so that lead to that day.

Perhaps all my memories, good or bad,

Are repressed memories.

Even my iCloud photos has a gap of repressed memories that starts from 2004 skips to 2011 and only then cumulatively goes on to 2020.

I have 16,857 photos in my iCloud.

I know that because I had just deleted 5,420 today.

I found comfort in nostalgia,

Day and night hovering over the little photos I had saved from childhood

Pinned on a cork board that I haven’t hung on the wall

Handwritten love letters in a box

And funnily, journals – with one page of my thoughts and the rest, blank and clean.

But every letter, every photo was not enough to remind me

Was I happy? Was I in love?

What was everyday like?

I wish I had written it

I wish I had remembered it all.

I often think about how much better my life would be if I had just been organised

With my thoughts, my routine.

How much could I have achieved if I had proactively written down on my elementary school diary and made sure to do all my homework?

If I had trained myself to write down notes and remember, would I have passed in a better university and taken a different career path?

If I had taken the time to memorise every piano and guitar piece, would I have been a musical virtuoso?

I guess nostalgia comes with regret too.

Isolation feeds on nostalgia

And nostalgia on depression

And depression on isolation

A never ending cycle.

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