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Linking memories to the age in which they occurred

  1. Jul 25, 2010 #1


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    I don't know if this belongs in this part of the forum but I'll ask here first. (It might delve into the different subjects of biology and etc.)

    Whenever I hear people speak about something that happened to them in the past, I'll generally hear them linking the memory to when they were a certain age (or within a particular age range). For me in particular, I am unable to do this. I'm curious why this is so. Perhaps it was because there was never a big deal made about age during my upbringing and thus, no importance was put on it on my part. I can recall various childhood memories (in images since I'm a visual learner) and where I was at the time, but not the age I was when they occurred. It just frustrates me whenever I hear someone say "Oh, I had this happen to me and I think I was about X age." It is sort of odd that I cannot recall even one memory that is linkable to a when I was a certain age.

    Anyone else experience something similar to this? Might this be due to the simple fact that no importance was placed on age in my family, or is something different occurring here?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
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  3. Jul 25, 2010 #2


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    The way I know what age I was when remembering things is by the surrounding memories and knowing what grade I was in and/or knowing my approximate age at the time.

    Can you see the other memories you have that surround the memory in question?

    For me, memories are in a "picture book", I draw out a volume and flip to the page with the memory. I can then search backwards or forwards in time by flipping through the *pages*.
  4. Jul 25, 2010 #3


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    Yes that happens to me, a lot! I rarely remember things by age.

    Instead, I link to emotions. For example, if something triggers a memory that happened around my parent's divorce, and I'll get a rush of the emotions I felt at that time. So I can somewhat peg the year the memory happened.

    And I've never been the type who incorporates age into my definition of myself, either.
  5. Jul 25, 2010 #4


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    Of course there are memories where I can't say how aged I was. Others on the other hand can be calculated or just remembered. For instance I remember when I turned 5 years old when I was going to eat my first cake; my little brother (who was then 3) ran into the kitchen and tried to put the cake on our table alone (my parents didn't know his attempt). The cake fell on the floor in the kitchen and I was so sad that I still remember it.
    Another memories: I remember when my little brother couldn't walk yet. He was just using his 2 feet and 2 arms to move so I can calculate that I was close to 3 years old (I would just copy him).
    Also my life changed drastically at several points (moved from Canada to France at age 4. My father left us and went back to Canada when I was 7) so I generally can tell with a somehow good precision how old I was in many memories.
    My girlfriend however lived her life in the same house and had a peaceful life so she can't remember how aged she was with a good precision for many things that happened in her life.
  6. Jul 26, 2010 #5
    I agree with the others so far -- I remember all sorts of memories from my childhood, going back as early as when I was about two-years-old. I realise that I didn't have a consciousness of my age at that time, it's in hindsight, doing math, that I can place those memories in time and figure out what age I was when they happened. It's entirely a backwards construction.
  7. Jul 26, 2010 #6


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    Pretty much the same with me. Until I was nearly 9, we moved about every two years, so memories are compartmentalized or in volumes according to places, which links the when.

    I think in my early years, my brain was like a sponge. Now it's more leaky. :biggrin:
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