Your earliest memory.
I’m chronologically challenged. I find it exceedingly arduous aligning the proper timeline of events during my early childhood. Differentiating the timing between things that I experienced when I was 4 or 7 is nearly impossible for me. Worse, I’m not entirely sure that the things I remember are always honest-to-goodness memories, or if my subconscious simply fabricated them using photos and familial anecdotes as framework.
For example, I have what seems to be to me a specific memory of tunneling through mammoth snow piles during the blizzard of ’77. I’ve seen photos of snowdrifts as tall as the house, but the fact of the matter is, I was a toddler. The memory lacks texture and makes me question; did I really remember that or is it an illusion stolen from my parents’ nostalgia?
After doing about 30 seconds of haphazard research, it appears that science disagrees on when children start forming long term and accurate memories. However what I found was that many psychologists feel that anything before age 6 is likely suspect because we do not have the cognitive and language skills to put things in proper context. So how come there are so many anecdotal accounts of pre-kindergarten memories?
There’s the theory that there actually is early childhood recall, however once kids reach about 9 or 10, we start replacing our earlier memories and/or adjusting them. We begin expanding how we process what we’ve experienced. As our world view matures, how we understand our memories evolves to the point that the recollections themselves are changed.
Does that make those memories more accurate or less so? The mind certainly is a mystery.
All that speculation aside, I haven’t fulfilled the terms of this challenge. Failing, and it’s only day two. Yet, it’s impossible for me to choose something and say “This is the one,” because regardless of validity, I’m unable to say which came first.
That being said, I’ll choose a day at a playground with my dad. I believe it was at a school, but mostly I just remember impressions of playing and a mild day. And my dad’s rather spectacular plaid pants.
Really, this whole “early memory” thing is moot when I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning…