Surprising Associations

Aug 23, 2020

“It’s going to be a different year. That’s for sure.” I can’t recall how many times a teacher said this to me. Usually, it was followed by a long list of concerns related to school and the pandemic. It’s understandable. With normal routines disrupted, we are having to do things differently. That can be scary and/or good depending on the memories we help form. Speaking of memories, I had a great mom flashback earlier this week.

I recall being in the kitchen as a child and asking my mom what we were going to eat. “Today, I think we will have a surprise lunch,” she said with a smile. My sister and I jumped up and down in excitement. It was one of our favorite meals. Of course, we later learned that “surprise lunches” comprised of anything my mother could find to throw on a plate – a few Ritz crackers, Vienna sausages, cheese slices…

Given the countless hours mom spent in the kitchen, she would be appalled to learn that the surprise lunches received as much high praise recall as her incredibly prepared Cajun meals. That’s the funny thing about a memory. Our perception creates our reality. I believe it is because when we have a positive connection to something, our memories adapt accordingly.

Memories are influenced by novelty and emotions. And since the pandemic has provided more than enough novelty, we just have to make certain we are creating positive emotional experiences, so the memories formed are good ones. “Remember that crazy Covid year?” My hope is that when kids later say this, recalling this time in history, they smile.

Time for me to go eat. “What will I have?” you ask. It’s a surprise.

PS – Love you, mom. I miss you and your food, greatly.

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