A counselor once told me that our memories work something like a cheerleader's megaphone-only in reverse. The opening is wide but there is not enough room for very many memories to crawl through the tube to come out at other end and stick in our heads. So we unconsciously pick the memories we hang onto. This is why he suggested I try to recall my earliest memory tied to a strong emotion. It would tell me something about myself.
At the age of five or so, I walked with my grandfather to a playground near his home. The road was tarred but not paved. I was looking down at the rough surface when I spotted a $5 bill. I remember gleefully looking up at my grandfather and proudly showing it to him. He offered an approving nod.
My counselor guessed that choosing to keep this memory might speak of my closeness to my grandparents and optimism. The road may be rough, but if you keep your eyes open, you'll discover wonderful surprises-and there is joy in sharing them.
The very fact I choose to remember talking to my counselor about this story, out of the many hours that we chatted, could say as much about me as remembering that story does itself.
Say, what's your youngest memory tied to a strong emotion? What does it say about you?