I accept that I cannot remember some things.
Forgetfulness is part aging, part full brain, and part apathy. The first time I couldn’t recall a phone number I dialed almost daily I was more shocked then upset. Up until that time I was extremely proud of my total recall. I was around 35 years old so I took it as a rite of passage. It was a badge for adulthood.
As the years went by I had a few memory lapses here and there, and I regularly wracked my brain, staying in the moment until I remembered whatever it was I had forgotten, and it was my firm opinion that in order to file additional information, I had to delete facts from my brain space, just an accepted fact called full brain syndrome.
But then around 50, I realized that aging had set in and my once lively (and full) brain is now getting tired. The synapses are beginning to rust. The information is still there but I need to allow my brain more time to find it. I knew the missing information would surface eventually, so I just moved on and allowed the data to arrive in my frontal lobe at some point, after all, it couldn’t be THAT important if I just forgot it.
Now that I am north of 50, apathy has set in and I don’t care anymore about remembering. Ask my kids. “Write it down,” is my new mantra.
So that’s the problem. But what’s the solution?
I’ve been told there are many natural remedies for memory loss, from Gingko Biloba to Periwinkle. It’s unclear if suggesting Periwinkle means to surround yourself with a certain shade of blue or to eat flowers, but I guess doing both won’t hurt. I’ve read that exercise, green tree, memory games and crossword puzzles help too. That’s all fine but let’s face it, not aging would be a slam-dunk.
But that’s still pretty much impossible.
Here’s an observation though from my perspective as a parent of teens. Forgetfulness is NOT restricted to aging adults or those with dementia. Teenagers too have difficulty with remembering. They don’t have full brains, aging, or apathy to blame. They have 100% selective hearing loss. Teens will remember that six months ago you promised to upgrade their cell phone if they didn’t loose, crack, or otherwise damage the one they had. They remember you promised a hamster if they could keep their room clean for 60 straight days. They know the exact date of movie releases that are planned two summers in advance.
All of these things take residence in their brains, in a beautifully comfortable wide-open place called the frontal cortex. I imagine bits of data occupying space on large comfy couches with soft fuzzy throw pillows – data just resting until the billowing fluid calendars indicate a due date worthy of posting.
But ask them to remember to turn off a light, or to put their sports gear inside the closet and not in front of it, or to be available on a particular weekend because relatives are in town, and these same teens have absolutely no recall. I know it’s not that they don’t remember because when questioned, they don’t say, “Sorry mom, I forgot.” They say, “you never told me that.”
Our kids have texts, emails, tweets, instas, and clouds to store data in but it’s still lights on, clutter in the hallway, and scheduling conflicts despite repeated reminders.
Archaic as it sounds, I with they’d just try it trading in one gigabyte for a pencil and see what happens? And as for me, I wish I could add some memory. One day, humans will be able to transmit to and from a flash drive to remember things… I know it’s coming. But what will be better is that our kids will be looking at their kids, who will have all the technology that exists now plus that telepathic stuff. Our children will look at their own kids, or at their grandkids, and wonder how they can remember so much, but have no idea what they mean when asked for the fifteenth time to do the same darn thing. And our kids look at them and hold out a pencil and a tablet and beg them. “Won’t you please, just, write it down?”