Sitting at the dinner table yesterday with my 22-year-old son, I mentioned the spider meme ( https://lindaghill.com/2016/10/12/one-liner-wednesday-i-thought-we-were-roommates/ ) I came across months ago that I found very funny, and he laughed at me. When I asked why, he said I was too old to be saying words like “meme.” So today I decided to look up the origin of the word.
Turns out it was first coined by Richard Dawkins in his book, “The Selfish Gene” in 1976, but he shortened it from the Ancient Greek word, mimeme, meaning “imitated thing.” (Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Fathering_the_meme ) HA! I can now say to my son. Though if I’m too old to say the word, how old does that make me? Still feeling a little weird about that.
Getting older is weird though. We have memories which give us the wisdom not to repeat our mistakes (with any luck) and yet our memory, or our capacity to remember, decreases with the shrinking of our brains. As much as I don’t like this, it’s inevitable. I either accept it or I fight it – fighting it takes so much more energy.
Having said that, I can fight it to some extent by continuing to learn and challenge myself. I wonder, often, if people who refuse to change their mindsets, form new opinions, or think they already know everything worth knowing lose their memories faster. I had an aunt who was very set in her ways. When she made a decision, she stuck with it no matter what. It might have been that she just hated making decisions so she got them over and done with as quickly as possible. But her decisions also were very predictable, because she never changed her preferences. She was stuck in a certain time, probably her childhood or early adulthood. I’m not sure I was born when she stopped trying new things. I always knew her as completely focused on the way things should be.
And, of course, the memories she shared never changed. The stories we all hear from our older family members are inevitably told as though they’ve never been told before. The polite thing to do is sound surprised, no matter how many times we’ve heard them. I wonder if people who are closed-minded have a narrower memory. Something my ever-learning mind will likely look into one day.
Now that I’ve veered totally off-course from my original intent for this post, I’ll have to go back and change the title. Coming up with titles for posts is hard, isn’t it?
Stream of Consciousness is for everyone! Click the link to see how you can join in today: https://lindaghill.com/2016/11/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-1216/