Sunday, November 23, 2014

Aging and Memory: On Drawing a Blank

Moonrise in Tucson, AZ
Honestly, every time I talk to an age mate the same thing comes up...they can't find their keys or don't remember the name of the person that fixed the plumbing 5 years ago. When they do that, the worry is that aging may be taking their minds away and the dreaded Alzheimers disease is looming on the horizon. It is very sad I think.

Most don't talk about what they remembered when they were 50. If they did, they would know that life and their mind was not perfect then either. My contention is that we should never worry about that sort of thing. If we are living life to the fullest, continuing to learn as we age and remaining socially active, what more do we need? It seems to me that a lot of our mind problems might be a self fulling prophecy. We all draw a blank once in a while. It is perfectly normal.

I have a friend that has gone to a specialist to be tested for her IQ and goes back every several years s. I just don't see any point in it.

Last winter when I arrived in the desert I was thrown into my snowbird world I had left behind six month before and names did not want to come out of the drawers in my mind. I could actually feel my brain trying pry the containers open. We all started saying "remember that guy, you know the one that cuts hair on that road?" Of course we would remember at some point in the night, generally about 3 AM. Because of shared experiences we could fill in the blanks. It got to be just hilarious. No really, it was funny!

But as time went by, the other part of our lives that happens in Arizona warmed up our minds and the drawers opened easier and easier. The fact is that in our work lives, we did not have two lives with two totally different set of friends and circumstances. We did not have to shift gears twice a year and expect our brains to hold all those names, places, etc.

So, when you draw a blank and cannot remember your own name, cut yourself some slack. You are probably okay. Life goes on and so will you. Worry about whether your favorite ball team will win or if hamburger is going to be on sale this those are things worth stewing over.

Have a wonderful day.

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