The science of 'hugot'
Welcome back to your old world.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by this fresh chance to orbit anew? Do you think it must have been the one too many drinks and indulgent dishes that you have had over the holidays? Maybe. But maybe it is also the emotional shots you have had over the holidays.
Now that we are all coming out of what even scientific studies have found to be one of the most emotionally stressful times of the year, we are even facing a good chance that you could feel worse the rest of this month. And it does not help if you live in temperate countries where the weather is also gloomy at this time of the year.
Think about the emotional smorgasbord that your life was fed with over the holidays. These “high-low” moments take on mostly permanent residences in your brain and they linger like the way those extra calories cling on to become our love handles and thighs. Those memories dig up little wells in your being from where you make those “hugots” (literally, “scoops”.)
A holiday-released study of what some science journalists have called the “emotional hangover” was just the right “antidote” for this episode. It confirmed the obvious – that emotionally laden events make us remember them more; BUT it also said that it makes the neutral events that happen after them more memorable.
I had a very unique Christmas arrangement this year. My mother, who is an excellent cook, did not feel well enough to cook for Christmas so she declared that I will be the one to bring all the food to her house. When she sent me that message (or warning), I entertained two thoughts: that my mother’s memory (at least about my culinary aptitude) is becoming hazy and/or she has undergone some revolutionary therapy which expunged all memories of my culinary defeats. Apparently, neither was true. She thought I would just buy the food.
But you can’t blame me for thinking that. After all, she was assigning Christmas dinner to this child of hers who, when asked in her tweens to choose how she will spend about 6 hours a week learning something else other than academic courses, chose to learn opera when about 98% of her batch chose other things – more than half of them, cooking classes. And my mother still apologizes to everyone she knows, saying that my missing out on cooking classes really shows.
Being so much older now, even if I still feel something when she does this, I don’t anymore engage in an emotional scrimmage with mom about this. I grew up with her running commentary on how I moved “like my Dad… so clumsy” and then it will progress to how “I think like my Dad” and that “am so like my Dad.” They have been divorced for about 38 years and the “hugot” is still there for her and this recent Christmas scene is digging up new holes for my own post-holiday “hugot.”
But indeed, now that I think about it, my Mom’s pregnant remarks about my cooking made me remember the holiday details more. I suddenly now know, without looking at the recipe, what goes into the soy chicken I prepared. I have done that dish a few times before and I still had to look up the recipe all the time. I still have to do a cost-benefit analysis of whether remembering soy chicken recipe was worth the emotional price but if only to confirm the study, there it is.
But seriously, even if I had those consistent quality of those moments with Mom all these years, I also had consistently good ones. The whole enterprise of life is really not about some end of the rainbow jackpot. It is about those uncountable galaxies of moments and making meaning out of them like beads you scoop from within and string to stitch up who you are. Some beads will be from “hugots” that are darker than others but they will all connect. You just gotta keep on scooping and stringing, working to live in your old world with a new mind. – Rappler.com