The other day I went to buy groceries at our favorite big box store. When I got inside, I realized I forgot my shopping list at home. After berating myself for one minute, I told myself to put on my big boy pants and try to remember everything on the list.
I decided if I went down every aisle, whenever I saw things that I use, it would remind me to buy it if I needed it. I went down every aisle and loaded up my cart. By time I was done, the cart held twice the amount of groceries that I usually buy. I figured it was all consumable, so no waste, no harm done. I was proud of myself for shopping without my usual list. When I got outside, it hit me; I forgot where I parked.
My memory is a strange beast. I think now that I’m older, my brain can’t retain any more data. Therefore, it seems to be doing a data dump. It pulls up an old memory file that I haven’t thought about in years. For example, it might pull up a name of someone from high school. Then my brain asks, “Do we need to keep this file?” If I don’t immediately try to contact that person, my brain dumps that memory. It’s lost forever. That leaves a little storage space for a new memory. I’ve learned how to use this to my advantage. Before I fall asleep, I might ask my brain to find the name of a long-lost friend. Bingo, the next morning, my brain shows me the file.
The other day I forgot what day it was. I thought it was trash day. I got up early and took out the trash. When the trash truck didn’t come, I figured out I was a day early. No sweat, lots of folks take out their trash the night before. I was just early. The problem is that I have done this before. I often run into a person I haven’t seen for a while and can’t remember their name. I have on a couple of occasions, let the dog out and forgot to let her back in.
In my experience, there seems to be three types of memory lost: the first is a total loss of memory of names, places or events; the second is a mixed match of memories (not remembering correctly or mixing two separate events together); and finally, false memories (remembering things that never happened – duh).
What I really hate is remembering things that never happened. For example, I was trying to remember if I took my morning meds and decided that I did. Later, I discovered that I hadn’t taken them. I was remembering something that never happened.
As we grow older, our memories are often the best things we have. I hate losing them. They say the memory is the second thing to go as you get old. I forgot what the first thing was. I thought I’d better write this blog before I forget.