An addendum: I have realized the issue is not that I forget. Which is, of course, not ever entirely I meant, if that means that my memories of events, places, and people will be erased entirely.
Although, I have found that it is very easy to forget about everything that happened from March to May—everything that happened virtually. The Zoom calls, the cheese tastings, the play readings. The FaceTime dates, the endless days of texts and reading. I think that those two months, which were specifically the lockdown experience have been distilled into a feeling that has simply washed over the whole year, even as I went about a “normal” life, simply with a mask.
But I do think something that’s entirely possible is that my sense of chronology is going to be rewired.
In a year in which linear time meant so little and felt so different, I’m not sure that I will remember the year chronologically. I think it entirely possible that I will remember the process of attending grad school as an entirely separate experience from the process of applying for it, or even the confusing middle process—also mostly forgotten—of deciding whether or not to attend.
In twenty years, I wonder if I will remember the year less in terms of a single movement of days to weeks to months, but rather as seasons. I wonder, as each narrative strand develops, if it will rearrange itself so that the events are not remembered in a single, linear timeline but as something different.
For someone who is spectacularly bad at outlining stories and who delights in rearranging scenes out of chronological order, I have to admit I am a stickler for a timeline. This is my only journalistic advantage. I need to know when something happened, how soon it happened before the other thing, which came first, which followed after, and who did what and what another person did about it.
I think trying to map out this sort of history is the most worthwhile of human endeavors, and also, if our memories rearrange themselves by a different order entirely on their own, perhaps its most fruitless.