I lead a charmed life! I am infatuated like a man head-over-heals in love. Every day I celebrate the wonderful things that happen to me. This is because of my brain dysfunction. My neurons are awash with a surplus of dopamine. You've heard the saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining?" Well, I never see the clouds, only the silver. I turn everything that happens to me into a positive experience.
What does this have to do with memories?
My rosy view leaves me with no "bad" memories. I turn them into "good" memories or forget them. You might think this is useful, might even wish you had the same ability, but it does have some side-effects.
For example, it is easy for me to forgive (and forget). It makes me appear very compassionate. I lent money to a man in need, even though two years ago I had lent him money which he didn't pay back. I only knew he borrowed the money two years ago because I have a book of the loans I make. I found his previous loan when I was looking for a page to write down his current loan.
Another example, I am very trusting of people, even if I don't know them. Luckily, in my experience, the vast majority of all people deserve my trust. But it has also exposed me to significant risk, times when those around me warn me to be more careful. Like the old man who warned me that the young man walking behind him had a gun. In that case, I chose to ignore the “cloud” and see only the “silver”. Unfortunately, I was proven mistaken as the young man pulled me into an alley and robbed me at gunpoint. Because of this, I considered getting a gun to protect myself. But after a couple months I felt safe without one once more.
Even more disturbing was my realization that most of my greatest epiphanies may not be so grand as I imagined. As I survey the piles of papers towering from every horizontal surface in my office, I see how my rose-colored glasses combined with my active imagination have held me back. I have kept my ideas as daydreams, which was safer than risking the judgment of the rest of the world. There is no applause louder than those imagined.
After 59 years, including several recent years of clinical depression, I have learned the world is much simpler than I thought it was. The mistaken complexity comes from my perception, which is all in my head. Though painfully humbling, my new-found understanding has freed me from martyrdom. I have found peace in knowing that the world depends on all of our actions, not just on my own.
Still, I am wracked with questions. Have I failed to meet my potential? Not given my best? Am I protecting myself from my disappointment with my life? From the insignificance of my death? I really don't know. But I do know I have done a good job at being a human being. If I were to die today, I would be satisfied with my life and the choices I have made. And others would say, “He was a good man.” Or is this yet another example of the conclusions of a selective memory?