For a long time I considered myself well-versed in the art of memorization.
Growing up I participated in these church events called “Bible quizzing.” In this C&MA-run extra-curricular, you memorized entire books of the Bible, and had to be the first answer questions with as little context as possible in order to score points for your team. It took a lot of work, a lot of practice, and a lot of time to commit all of those verses to memory. Unfortunately, today I can recall only a few of those verses, and virtually none of them by reference alone. Memorization was possible—and there was a path forward for it—but it wasn’t easy.
How about dates? I’m terrible at memorizing dates. You may have a birthday that comes around every year, but without some kind of reminder on a calendar, or having you tell me that today is your birthday, chances are I’ll never remember it. I have a hard enough time keeping our family’s anniversaries and birthdays in order.
Names can be tough, too. I’ve learned that in order to memorize these, I either have to have the person tell me their name on more than one occasion, or write their name down after the first time I meet them. It feels terrible when you really hit it off with someone the first time you meet, and then you can’t remember their name five minutes later.
Some things do come naturally. Song lyrics. Movie quotes. Spaces I’ve been in. These all seem to take almost no effort to recall—I can usually rattle off quotes or draw you a picture of a room after being exposed to a song or space between one and three times. For instance, I’m pretty confident I could draw you the layout of the beautiful Flagler College visitor center foyer and courtyard (structurally, and without the incredible art that actually exists in that space), though I’ve only been there a few times. Same deal with a lot of homes, public establishments and parks I’ve visited.
Some types of memorization comes more easily to some people than it does to others.
What do you find comes naturally for you? What do you have to really work at?