As we get older, or maybe well before we’re called “old”, our memory starts to fail us. We just can’t remember everything any more. I have no idea when I first noticed it in myself, but I’ve gotten used to giving longer thoughts to what I’m about to say and my responses to others are hopefully more deliberate than they used to be – as I rarely let words “fall out of my mouth”. My memory’s not as sharp as a knife blade any more, and I hate admitting it. But one thing is absolutely for sure: my visual memory surpasses the verbal descriptions and details I can explain — and I think it’s a bit unusual.
I am often asked quite specific questions about my Interior Design projects, clients or resources. As soon as the “concept” is recalled, I can almost picture any part of it in my mind quite quickly. I may not remember the Benjamin Moore color number, but I could find something pretty close it I were to check out a pile of sample strips. Can everyone do that? I somehow don’t think so. That’s probably why the ginormous Merchandise Mart doesn’t scare me. And, till a few years ago, there were many more Design-focused floors and showrooms then there are today.
As I am maturing (one of the better terms for “getting older”), I so very often find that the way I remember events, places or even people from my childhood and also more recent years is because I immediately visualize the subject, the objects or places in discussion: I am “there” and I can find my way within a space I’ve not visited in ages. But I can still
“see” where I am. Maybe I’m crazy, but I can picture myself in my seventh-grade classroom at Nichols School with my homeroom teacher (Mrs. Blythe) in front of the class. Yeah, I also can envision my math class and the halls of lockers.
I have memories of living in Ann Arbor as a newlywed: the “front” stairs to our apartment (above a pizza place) and also the back stairway from the small parking lot which were fire escape steps. It was a tiny apartment and we had to buy a freezer add to the kitchen for the only space it could fit: under the sink counter—the fridge had little space!
On a daily basis, it’s a handy talent (is it a talent? a skill?) and is unbelievably helpful for my work. Even if I don’t have photos of furnishings, I can visualize where I saw what I liked and thereby remember the vendor to call and request more info. Maybe this is why it works out so well for me. Perhaps, I take it too much for granted after all this time, but I don’t think so.
I am sure others have this experience, too, and it has been immeasurably helpful plus lots of fun when I reminisce with family and friends, or even by myself! If you know me personally, you might already know this about me; if not, I’ve divulged my “secret sauce” to you. And if we are family, friends, business pals or schoolmates, maybe we can share a memory together sometime!
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