Monthly Archives: September 2015

Never Miss a Memory

When I opened Facebook today to check up with work, I got another reminder to “Never miss a memory”. This is the new thing when Facebook reminds you about a photo that you uploaded the same day as today but xxx years ago, and prompts you to share it again. If you don’t do so, the photo will stop appearing on your feed, and your friends will forget about whichever the memory you have with them. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

I have received these reminders for a while now, but today it got my full attention for two reasons. Today is the first day when I make use of my boyfriend’s 27-inch retina screen while he slaves himself away at another office. Thus, when I opened Facebook, the photo from my memory was magnified about three times with a perfect resolution. It was a close-up photo of my ex. Man, the irony!

My memory went back to a night out with my team more than two years ago. Back then, I worked at the JW Marriott in Hanoi, and we often had colleagues from other offices visiting. That specific night-out was for one of those visitors, who happened to look a lot like my ex. After a few drinks, things got personal. I pulled out my phone, logged into Facebook, found a photo of my ex and showed it to the girls to check if they also saw the resemblance. That was the same photo Facebook showed me today.

There was a lot of “oh”, “ah”, “oaw” because they do look like long-lost cousins. My phone was passed around, reached my adorable boss, who also had had a few to drink. His reaction was: “Why do keep photos of your ex on your Facebook page?”. My response: “Why not?”

I didn’t think twice about that little episode until today when I saw the photo again involuntarily. It was from an album of six photos, each represents a year my ex and I were together. Six years was a long time for someone who just turned 30. It was a huge part of my early adulthood that nobody should take away from me even if I am no longer with him. That was why I keep the album, just like the mountain of postcards my best friend gave me throughout the years, or an old favourite book when I was ten even if the pages has started to go loose. The reason seems effortlessly obvious to me.

However, seeing the Facebook reminder today really made me think. Does memory really have to be shared and to be reminded of, or else they will stop to exist? I looked through the album once more time, switched it to private and closed the tab. I don’t need to worry about forgetting the past and losing a part of myself no more, I will always have Facebook to remind me (privately).

Well,

I am just kidding!

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The Permission to Quit

On Goodreads, I’ve set up a “stopped-halfway” bookshelf for titles that I read the beginning but lost interest somewhere in the middle. I don’t keep such a shelf because I plan to read any of the books again in the future. The shelf serves as a reminder that it’s ok to give up on certain things.

I’ve always been into reading since I was a kid. The type of books that I like has however changed a lot through the years. When I was very young, I read Chinese fiction about heroes and their beautiful girlfriends – the Chinese version of James Bond. Then, I went through a phase of reading Alexandre Dumas’ historical novels. He is still my favourite author of all times but I haven’t picked up any of his books for years.

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I used to read a few favourites again and again, like the three musketeers or Wuthering Height. But I don’t relive the story of my favourite books anymore. I feel like I don’t have the time. In the last few years, I am always behind on books I should read because they are bought for me as presents or they are recommended to me as some must-read materials. Then there are so many web articles about how to improve my career, how to manage a life abroad and etc. Sometimes I feel suffocated because no way I can read through all the texts whose title either teases out my curiosity or screams at me for its significant benefits for my personal development.

I love written words so much that I am carving out a writing career right now. The joy of reading a well-written article or a page turner is far more satisfying than eating a Magnum ice cream or sipping a glass of Port. But I can’t help feeling that reading has become more an obligation than a guilty trip to a fantasy world, which really should not be the case.

So a while back, I set up the “stopped-halfway” bookshelf and  today, I added “This Changes Everything” there. Naomi Klein’s book is the book about climate change and environmental movements. Pushing through all doom and gloom, I hoped to find out about different things for an individual like me to do so we can turn the tide against the very bleak of a future facing the human kind. But I just can’t muster the strength to keep reading it because pages after pages, it is just soul destroying. Maybe I’ll look for other ways to get my answer  but for now, I am just gonna quit it.