The sense that you fell in love just yesterday but that you flunked your driver's test in a former life is a natural and temporal distortion that helps one maintain a positive self-image.
"People distance themselves from negative situations, but they feel close to events they are proud of," says Michael Ross, a professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Ross and Anne Wilson, of Canada's Wilfrid Laurier University found that people with high self-esteem report greater distance from unpleasant events than those with lower self-esteem. They note that everyone shows some degree of distance bias in recalling their own life events, but not the life events of others.
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Ross and Wilson asked 544 college students to ruminate on either pleasant or humiliating experiences. Students consistently stated that they felt that ego-bolstering events, such as being praised by a superior, transpired more recently than they actually did. Conversely, embarrassing events, such as falling down a flight of stairs while drunk, felt far away—even if they occurred relatively recently. Subjects further distanced themselves by attributing such experiences to "the old me."