One of the joys of social media is that serendipitous moment when you find people you’d lost along the way. So it was that I reconnected with an old acquaintance, someone I’d met on an NLP training course more than a decade ago.
He has gone on to become a managing director while my path has taken a few twists and turns before ending up where I am today – as a sort of portfolio worker, doing a bit of this and that in journalism while building a coaching practice.
The connection we made all those years ago was still there, as if we’d seen each other last week. On the one hand it was as if no time had passed at all; on the other, as if plenty of water had passed under the bridge.
Most striking, however, was the stark difference in the memories we had of the course. Particularly the vivid memory he had of one process we did together that went very deep into my past. So vivid, in fact, that he can still remember the room we were in, how he felt, and what I said to him.
He seemed almost reluctant to mention it, as if it might bring up some raw emotion for me. And yet I have no recollection of the incident. He said he hoped I’d managed to work it through; perhaps I have, in my unconscious!
I’ve written here before about how unreliable memories are – that they are only stories. So his version of events is exactly that – his version. I find this happens all the time, particularly with family. My version of childhood is completely different to my sister’s, even though she was there beside me virtually every step of the way.
I made sense of my experience in a very different way – so much so that these days we rarely, if ever, talk about the defining events of our family life. Is that sad? I don’t know. Perhaps we’re better off with our own stories.
I’m going to be looking at the subject of storytelling a lot more in the coming weeks. It’s a huge and fascinating subject and crucial to the way in which we understand ourselves. Stay with me for the next chapter!