Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Quote of the Day (Melissa Dahl, on Why the Teenage Years Stay So Long in Your Memory)

“There’s a reason why your teenage years stay with you. Perhaps you've heard of the reminiscence bump, a term psychologists use to describe the way the episodes of our lives that occur between the ages of ten and thirty tend to be recalled more vividly than those that occur earlier or later in life. Researchers have a few theories to explain the phenomenon; maybe, for instance, these memories stand out because of their novelty. It makes sense that you would remember your very first kiss more than your very eleventh kiss. But beyond that, throughout our life span, the moments that take prominence in our memories are those that are linked to our self-concept. During your awkward teenage years, you are laying the foundation for the path you'll follow as an adult—you join the school newspaper and see your name in print for the first time, or you take a volunteer tutoring job after school and realize you want to be an elementary school teacher. You carry your teen self around with you for life in part because these are the years you become yourself in the first place.”— Health and psychology journalist Melissa Dahl, Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness (2018)

I have noticed the “reminiscence bump” occurring among myself and others in my age group especially lately as so many of our contemporaries pass away. In the aftermath of their demise, we summon up memories not just to give shape to their lives, but also to better understand our own.

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