Quit Thinking About It…

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The advantage of a bad memory
is that one enjoys several times
the same good things for the first time.
Friedrich Nietzsche

In my 20’s and 30’s the cover phrase for forgetfulness was “I must be getting old”. By the 40’s and 50’s the rationale had morphed into “must have had a senior moment”. Now almost out of the latter age decade I notice memory lapses on a regular basis. So far my forgetting is nothing to get worried about. However, there are the pesky things like names and titles on the tip of my tongue that I can’t sometimes conjure up at will. With those come the overused statements “quit thinking about it and it will come to you” or “you’ll think of it at 3 o’clock in the morning”. Both have an element of truth.

…I began to study and categorize midlife mental lapses as if they were so many butterflies. There was Colliding-Planets Syndrome, which occurs when you fail to grasp, until too late, that you’ve scheduled a child’s orthodontist appointment in the suburbs for the same hour as a business meeting in the city. Quick-Who-Is-She Dysfunction surfaces when you are face-to-face with someone whose name stubbornly refuses to come to mind. What-Am-I-Doing-Here Paranoia leaves you standing empty-handed in a doorway, trying to figure out what you’ve come for. The Damn-It-They-Were-Just-in-My-Hand Affliction leads to panicky moments spent looking for your favorite new sunglasses, when all the while they’re on top of your head. And Wrong-Vessel Disorder results in placing the ice cream in the pantry rather than the freezer. Cathryn Jakobson Ramin http://www.oprah.com/health/Midlife-Memory-Loss-How-to-Remember-More

First hand experience is mine with all five of those somewhat whimsical names Ms. Ramin calls types of forgetfulness. I have stood a friend up for lunch, called an acquaintance by the wrong name, gone to the kitchen and found I did not know why, gone looking for my glasses only to discover I was wearing them and put ice cream in the fridge instead of the freezer. But then hasn’t everyone? If you’re middle aged or more, I can’t imagine the answer is anything except “yes”.

A momentary loss of memory is most probably not a sign of Alzheimer’s, or if so it’s a very distant one. People between 65 and 75 face only a 4% chance of suffering from that sad, destructive disease, vs. a frightening 50% chance for those over 85 (see Alzheimer’s box). Yet almost all of us will be tripped up by forgetfulness from time to time as we age. Memory may begin to get a little shaky even in our late 30s, but the decline is so gradual that we don’t start to stumble until we’re 50ish. Therese Eiben, Fortune Magazine

Now having done a good bit of research I feel better and am grateful for my good health and relatively reliable memory. If my habit of “I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.” can be broken everything will be just fine.

Right now I’m having amnesia
and déjà vu at the same time.
I think I’ve forgotten this before.
Steven Wright