Memento (the Movie): Time, Memory, and Survival

So how…how can I heal? How am I supposed to heal if I can’t…feel time? Leonard Shelby from “Memento” (the movie)

Yes, exactly. How do we move on without time on our side? Memento, a movie by Christopher Nolan, with Guy Pierce in its leading role, explores the themes of time, memory, and healing. I watched it and felt grateful to have the time as my ally in this life. I know that for most of us, time often represents something very powerful at work which we can’t control. Often we feel helpless in our struggle with time. We can’t stop it, we can’t make it move slower, we can’t put it on hold, we can’t push the pause button in time, if there’s such a button. But exactly, time doesn’t have a pause button, or a rewind button. It just keeps moving, and moving forward, unstoppable.

With time moving continuously forward, at its full speed, unstoppable, often it makes us feel out of breath as we try to keep up with its unmerciful movement, pushing us to keep running, and running, while at the same time we try to remember so much about our lives and  put our best efforts to enjoy and be present at the present at the same time, without, admittedly, much success.

Time has its penchant for always reminding us that no matter how hard we try to beat it, we just can’t win. Simply by looking in the mirror, we will see how time has passed from the number of wrinkles in our face and the grey hairs in our head. And we often wonder, gosh, I am old! How time flies! What have I achieved? Do I live a meaningful life? Aaaarrghh, how much time do I have left? Oh no. No. No. No.

But unlike Leonard Shelby, the protagonist in the movie Memento, who can’t feel time because of his condition, we are not trapped in our last memory. We can move forward, with the time as our reminder, we can grasp how many moments in our lives that we have left behind. And sometimes, yes, it is reassuring to know that something happened in the past. It feels good to be able to say that yes, it did happen but it was how many years ago? Two…or three years ago now? It is empowering to be able to put a label which says ‘the past’ in so many moments in our lives. Because then we can take a deep breath, and say to ourselves, it’s been that long, and yes, it means that we have to leave it there.

the_persistence_of_memory_-_1931_salvador_dali

The Melting Clocks (or The Persistence of Memory) by Salvador Dali

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