As I laid out all those months ago when starting this blog, a major motivation for me has been to document my rediscovery of LEGO. A diary of sorts. Part of this is making note of how and why I want to do certain things, the feelings, the motivators, the demotivators (see e.g. One year in). So far, the absolutely best part, in addition to the inspirational LEGOLAND visits, has been reliving past experiences. Or not so much reliving them, perhaps, as simply remembering. Sometimes you have to relive them a little to remember.
Months ago I read an article about why people save memorabilia relating to decades-old dates and partners, and why spouses shouldn’t be upset about them. The point of the article was that most people aren’t really saving those items to remember past partners, but to remember themselves in different points of their life, because that’s what makes them who they are today. The old partners are no longer significant, but one’s own past is, and that’s why spouses shouldn’t generally feel bad or threatened about such things. This resonated with my own thoughts on that subject and also spilled over a little to the unrelated AFOL topic.
It amazes me how much of a rediscovery into my own past the past year and a half as an AFOL has been. Just this week, re-living some of this summer’s Billund visit through photographs, seeing some very old LEGO sets, re-kindled in me some very distant memories. Just like most people, I generally don’t have many active memories from the first few years of my life, but seeing some long-forgotten LEGO designs suddenly dropped me back several decades, even to early years I usually don’t recall. Flashback here, another there. Just like those old partners, it would be an exaggeration to say the LEGO in this story is important, it isn’t. LEGO – like music, a familiar smell or whatever takes us back – has just been a vehicle to those memories. And my memories, to me, are important.
LEGO was present in my life through many of my formative years – and the ability to relive those a little, remember them a little better has been satisfying. But there’s another side, that I came across already last year and again recently, the ability to share these experiences with the next generation. Just the other day I had a small pile of 1970s and 1980s LEGO Castle lying on the table, trying to figure out a few things for my blog projects and my young son pops in and starts building with them – and just a few questions and moments later he is fluently discussing the Black Falcons, the yellow castle and how much more interesting he found them compared to the current iterations. By the way, my son was quite surprised and impressed by the fact that all the (pre-1989) minifigures – even the “bad guys” as he called them – were smiling. Happier LEGO times.
Next thing I know, some LEGO Kingdoms and 2013 Castle walls had found their way from my son’s room to the table – and suddenly, after decades in storage, the Black Falcons were standing guard again. On bley walls, no less. Now, say whatever of the LEGO itself, after all one could argue it is just decades old plastic, but this parent-child interaction is meaningful stuff. It wasn’t all that long ago when it was me at a similar age pouring through my father’s 1960s LEGO. Thanks to this hobby I now remember my own child-parent interactions a little better. Safe to say, I again felt a little more motivated to complete the Lion Knights’ castle soon and pass it on to the next generation.
At the same token, it is clear getting to know the past (again) can only be a part of the story. Re-discovering LEGO and memories through LEGO can only go so far, after all, LEGO should be about creating new things, new memories. I am still in that process of re-discovering the old, but already I find myself wondering what might loom beyond the horizon. I don’t know. In my article Why do adults build LEGO? I listed some musings. Anyway, I have decided to take this hobby project by project, so let’s see where things are once the castle stands and the train rolls.
One day, years and years down the road, I intend to re-read these blog entries and remember what I’ve once again forgotten.