This system has always worked very well; I went through a major haircut (and by major I mean cutting off at least a foot and completely revolutionizing the style of my hair) once every several years, and between each haircut I would have grown a lot, so it wasn't hard to place my age or grade whenever I saw a picture of myself. The length of my hair provided a sort of proof in the placing of my memories.
It worked the same way with my place in the school timeline. Each year brought new challenges and triumphs, and each year had its own feeling to it. Second grade was full of childlike wonder because Miss Spencer allowed me to reach the height of my goodie-goodieness and I had a best friend to tag along with me. Ninth grade was a dark year because the junior high kids were jerks and my small group of friends changed a lot. My senior year was a carefree year because I spent most of my time in the choir room and I didn't take school (or myself) quite so seriously.
So with these two markers to guide me along memory lane, I have never gotten lost.
But today I realized that I can no longer chronicle my memories this way. Being done with school and done with the dramatic physical changes, I'm not sure how I am going to reckon time. Instead of saying, "When I was a senior on high school, I took the last math class of my life," I'll have to come up with something like, "After graduation some time, maybe a year or five—it's hard to tell because I look the same with long hair at the age of 22 that I did at the age of 27—it was probably some time while Kimberly was still in school because she was complaining about doing homework, yeah, it was around that time that I moved into my first house." By the time I finally get to my point, my audience is probably still thinking about their math homework, their ACT score in calculus, the hours they spent studying for a math final, or the last math class they took, all depending on the age of said audience. And by the time I get to the exciting part of my story, they are too bitter about their massive amount of homework waiting for them, the wasted hours of studying in the cursed library, or the fact that I didn't have to take a math class in college to even care that I ever moved into a house all my own. And then no one will care about my cool story.
From here on out, my life is going to be a lot more stable. No more uprooting my routine every 4 months, or even every 9 months. My reckoning of time will become a lot more scattered. I'll judge my memories off of major events like weddings, funerals, and children—and those don't happen as often as the beginning of a new school year. Maybe as often as a major haircut, but even my haircut pattern has become quite standardized, not exciting enough to warrant a new marker on that line of memories. Even funerals get lost in the haze of memories sometimes because even though they're life-altering, I've been to so many of them that I lose track of when certain funerals took place. Call me morbid, but without my grade in school to help me out, I'm going to have a hard time remembering when all my relatives were buried.
So I'm not quite sure what I am going to do when I want to tell someone a story about something that happened to me post-college. Maybe I'll just say something like, "When you were 15, I learned how to successfully eat a pomegranate." Or I could start carrying my journals around with me everywhere so that I could pull out a book and say, "On March 13, 2012, I fell down the stairs and laughed my head off." Or maybe I'll just have to remember how old I am ALL THE TIME. Maybe I should just go back to school and never leave. Then I could say something like, "When I was a super senior to the fourth power at BYU, I had 200 grandchildren."
I hope you understand the gravity of this situation. Reminiscing as I know it has changed forever.