Simple Pleasures And The Fluid Nature Of Memory


Hi folks,

A life well lived is a balanced life. As I think back over my life so far, I remember some simple pleasures that cost little but left an indelible memory. The earliest is playing the ancient game of five stones as a kid in the street outside of our house in Bristol, England in the late 1940s. You find five nice small stones, just right to both throw in the air and pick up, and away you go. It is the 1940s version of a DSi. One major advantage of five stones is that it can be played alone. An alternative was marbles, but this is really a battle of wits between two or more players.

A marble like this would have captivated me for hours as a kid. From:

Remarkable examples of these beautiful little spheres can be found at Art Glass by Gary. They contain mysterious patterns and structures that could be turned into alien worlds by a child’s mind during imaginary games. Why are those games so real as a kid, but hard to resurrect as an adult? Flying dreams were similar for me. Frequent and exciting as a kid, but rarer as I aged. Then there was the fig. At the age of 17, I had the good fortune to go to the south of France. At that time I had experienced dried figs, figs in cakes, and syrup of figs (not fun), but I had never eaten a ripe fig, warmed by the sun and direct from the tree. It was truly delicious, like corn eaten in the garden, or home made wine carefully prepared for several years, or my lovely cat, Alobar, sitting on my lap purring as I read or drink my morning cup of tea, or watching my children learn to walk and then watching their children come into the world.

Better than a new car. Better than a great annual bonus. Even better than finishing an Ironman. These are memories that I really cherish.

But then! Wait a minute! Memories are not fixed, they evolve in your mind. I think this is the reason why older memories contain stronger links to deep emotions. We improve upon them, and they simmer in the unconscious. I experienced an interesting example of this simmering in relation to a Monty Python skit about lumberjacks.

I watched this performance about 25 years ago, and then retained amusing memories of the event. I would mention it to friends over a beer, or during general ‘Monty Python conversations.’ But it was busy evolving in my mind. Then, a couple of years ago, with the advent of the magic of YouTube, I watched this skit again. I was mortified to discover that the real skit was nowhere near as brilliant as my memory of it. It was still good, but not as good. Why people think that their memories are fixed and accurate I have no idea, but many are convinced of that their recollections are correct in every detail. No way, my friends, but enjoy them, and then enjoy the improved versions that your mind serves up over subsequent years.

Don’t waste an opportunity to create great memories that will only improve with time, just like you.

-k Your Medical Mind


  1. Aren’t you Ironmanning today?

  2. – Bristol, England, in
    – many are convinced (of) that their recollections are correct

  3. The marbles you remember are still available. See link

    • Kevin Morgan says

      I lost my marbles, so my nice brother, Trevor, sent me some new ones. Maybe my posts will be more interesting now? Thanks Bro! Very much appreciated -kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.