I pull the noodles from the cabinet, realizing I have forgotten to buy the sauce. I pass a friend on the street I haven’t seen for two or three years, her name lost. I repeat an anecdote I’ve used before-perhaps twice.
This slow creeping of forgetfulness terrifies me, almost more than coming down with a serious illness. After all, what can you do but forget?
Often, my mother’s memory issues make me even more anxious about mine. I see my future. Yet, she handles this loss so gracefully.
“Oh you know I forget things these days,” she says. I, on the other hand, beat myself up as if it’s a personal flaw, and to make things worse, anxiety contributes to memory loss, too.
Our brains are funny things, aren’t they? We remember our favorite childhood book, forget where we put the keys to the car, and ruminate over issues over which we have no control. Environment, trauma, and mood all contribute to how much we remember and how we process information.
One interesting fact-much of what we attribute to memory loss is really a lack of paying attention. As we age, multi-tasking and/or over stimulus means much of this flows in and out, never really embedding itself.
Advice? I plan to continue relaxation techniques, reading, and trying to sleep well. Also, keeping a daily journal helps. Giving up social media and spending more time outside are on my list. And, hey, there’s always this:
“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche