Please tell me this is a temporary thing, like puberty for people getting older? I hate to say it, but I am losing my mind. I am afraid to admit it, but I am getting older. I am really not that old, just mid-30s, but my body and brain think this is a race to senility and seeing who can arrive first. My joints, especially my post-ACL replacement knee I can blame on no one but myself for my overactive athletics when younger, but having my brain go at such a young age just isn’t fair.
I tend to think of myself as one of the sharper knives in the drawer, using an old saying. Now, I am not self-centered in saying that, but I faired well in academia, graduated college, hold a good job and consider myself a good contributing member of society. I try to keep myself up-to-date on current events, well read and trained in my profession. I like being the guy people turn to for answers in certain fields. All good things. I was under the apparently incorrect assumption that if I kept my brain engaged and challenged on a daily basis that I could forestall the memory loss we all know comes with later years in life. Yep, I was wrong, at least in my case.
I have always had a good memory. I am not photographic by any means, I have never done that well on factual exams in school, but I have what I call a “situational memory.” For any given situation that sticks in my mind, I can pretty much remember all the details of what was said, describe the surrounding, recall important facts, etc. The part that is going, going gone is my short term memory. Since when did I become such a creature of habit with no ability to keep the most important of details in my mind? A few examples are in order:
My wife calls me at work right before I am headed home to ask that I pick up a (insert important item here such as missing food needed for dinner, prescription, etc.) on my way home. I leave the office 5 minutes later only to head directly to the home.
Deadlines at work – even if I make note of it, my brain for some reason tucks it away until just past the time necessary to do it without rushing like a teenager writing that all-important term paper.
Kids birthdays – I’m a man, need I say more about this? I actually did ok at some point in my life, but now I understand why my dad had such a hard time with this one. It wasn’t his fault, it was premature mental aging.
The list really could go on and on, but I forgot what I was…hey, what am I doing…oh yeah, writing about my short term memory.
I have always been one to steer clear from taking any kind of pills, whether they be painkillers, supplements, whatever; but I can honestly understand now why the ginko craze has such staying power. We all what the magic cure to get our brains back. Forget reclaiming my childhood sports abilities, I know those are gone forever…I want my brain back! There really is something to the joke about going back to your teenage years when you knew everything! At least I could remember a few more things even if I didn’t actually know as much!
I have learned to live by reminders. I love my smartphone, I carry the Treo 650 these days. It is really my saving grace most of the time. Anything important gets put in the calendar with an alarm with appropriate lead time. The only downside is the dread I feel sometimes when I hear that reminder chime. Oh boy, what have I forgotten now?
So kids, my kids specifically, have a little patience with your old man when he shows up at your birthday party with the look of surprise on his face or a little late for the soccer game you have been talking about all week. It isn’t his fault, he’s just lost his mind.