[Let’s try something new today. Nothing for Guinness Book of World Records but an exercise guaranteed to make you think, feel better and maybe even cry. Now how can you not accept such a challenge?]

Wimpy’s Wondering When (#WWW) game rules. Not too many and very simple:

(a) You have to concentrate. It won’t work unless you’re committed, so that also means being by yourself. Drinking coffee is okay. In the den watching television, turn it off. Seated outside on the porch is fine. But wherever you are, you have to be alone.

(b) There is no need for pen and paper, but if you’re someone who thinks better scribbling and doodling, go for it. Making notes allowed.

(c) Absolutely no iPhone, iPad or other electronic distraction. And they can’t be within reach or hearing distance. [Not to worry, the world won’t come to an end.]

= * =

Actually, it’s going to be very simple and easy, trust me.

All you have to do is close your eyes and think back to the Most Memorable Moments of your life.

A problem? Impossible, you say, as you open your eyes to object. I kind of agree. But I didn’t say “moment,” I’m asking for “moments.” Let me try to be of help since I’ve tried it myself. Start chronologically. No matter how many years it might be, going back to early childhood is an automatic can’t-miss start; there are so many “firsts” to reflect upon. First day of kindergarten, first time standing before a class, first time someone asked if you were Japanese. You see, they don’t have to be major or that unforgettable. Just open your memory door and see what’s behind it. [Reminder: You’re reviving “memorable,” so it’s not to be restricted just to the pleasant.]

After grammar school and childhood, now it’s on to high school and a whole new set of growing-up experiences. Again, they can vary from a favorite teacher to getting caught ditching class, first date, prom night. I guarantee this stage will be hard to leave.

Now you’re where it’s really going to get, how to put it, comfortably uncomfortable?

“Most memorable” as a grown-up. Wow, where to begin? Once past the testing teens, when and how did you start growing up? So different and yet so similar, regardless of gender. Now you’re on the doorstep of maturity and everything is clear and muddled. Did you continue school? Start work? Get married? How to put your MMMs into proper focus? Might it involve a best friend, a foe, an elder? Where to start?

Best part of this exercise is arguing with yourself and no one else is the wiser. So undo the mental shackles and let fly. Who’s to know?

Now the problem is ranking the various incidents since you really don’t have to discard any of them. Holding hands and *dancing cheek-to-cheek is much too quaint, but others of you might be wise to set aside romantic interludes for later review. [*“Where or When” was an old Tommy Dorsey recording (maybe Benny Goodman) with an appropriate lyric reminding you that, “Some things that happened for the first time, seem to be happening again . . .”]

There will be the many who will rightfully mark the birth of a (grand)child as an unbeatable highlight. From there the cycle becomes familiar fare: baby becomes adolescent; participation in youth activities trumps going to a concert or on a vacation; a station wagon or SUV is added to the garage. Meanwhile there are more diapers, maybe moving into a new home, a job advancement, discussing retirement.

Looking back, the assignment to rank and rate is difficult. Apples and oranges. Mochi and poi. Yin and yang. How different and yet how similar our lives have been.

But come on, let’s face it, growing up really means growing old. It doesn’t really matter where you are on the age scale at this moment; you’re probably wondering, “Where did the years go?” When will that question become, “Wonder how many more I have?”

= * =

It’s safe to assume you’ve opened your eyes by now and are no longer concentrating. So did you enjoy reliving your past? The memorable, yes for sure. Some stuff you might’ve forgotten, and maybe on purpose. What the hey, to enjoy the warm and fuzzy some bad is required for ballast. By the way, a question unasked: Have you ever wondered how it might have been if you married him? Or her? Or not at all?

To paraphrase a crooner, “Regrets, we have a few.” But when you stir the embers of the past, the ashes will burst back into flame. Bask in its warmth, it’s yours alone.

There is no tax on the wealth of memories you possess. [Who first uttered those profound words? I just did.]

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at williamhiroto@att.net Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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