Library of Congress

Building on yesterday’s peek into the autistic brain, today I’ll briefly talk about object permanence.

Not in the way that a baby (supposedly) literally forgets that something exists when they can no longer see it. But in the need for a mental prompt to remember about an object, event, person, etc.

This is another reason why I have a hard time getting rid of things I own—I don’t want to forget them.

I’m a member of a Facebook group that focuses on Gen-X stuff, and periodically someone shares photos of toys that were around when we were kids. I love it when this happens, because inevitably someone will share something that I used to have but had forgotten about and hadn’t thought about in decades. Because I’d gotten rid of it a long time ago. I forgot it existed entirely.

I’ve been trying to purge my own items, and for those things I am fine parting with but don’t want to forget, I’ve been taking photos of them and saving those photos in a particular place, one that synchronizes across devices and is easy to back up. But that doesn’t work well for things like books and things meant to be used.

I feel like when I forget about portions of my life, it’s like the items never existed or the events never happened. Like they’ve been stolen from me somehow. That’s why it’s so exciting to get a piece of my life back when prompted by a photo or other reminder.

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