Life Lines

Memories can be both a pleasure and a hardship. The most dissatisfied people, Kierkegaard observed, can “be found among the unhappy rememberers.” As Turk-Browne put it, “Memory is such a great thing, but it’s also where your anxiety comes from.” Johnson’s emotional load certainly seems lighter: she is never going to regret making an impatient remark to Aline or worry for days that the Princeton researchers find her tedious. But even the sketchiest memories can weigh someone down. Johnson knows how deeply she loved her past, even if she can perceive only some of its outlines…

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