I was walking down the street and saw these middle school jocks playing lacross and thought about saying “Hi.” But in my head I instantly morphed into the unpopular kid I was in middle school and walked by, laying low. “Phew, that was a close one, thank god they didn’t make fun of me!”
I bet if I went to my high school reunion I’d act all high-schooly around all my former classmates, trying to be cool. The brain has all these little patterns of neurons hiding in there. Even if they aren’t being used right now, they can be activated. Mental patterns probably last longer than FOREVER postage stamps.
(But I suppose recognizing them is the first step to either changing them or not activating them in counter-productive ways).