Today is Kathryn’s birthday. Happy Birthday Sweetie!
It’s nice to be able to remember things like that… Birthdays and such. Little details. The minutea of life.
I say that because yesterday we watched a movie about Stephen Hawking(well, we watched part of a movie before leaving the room early in the morning). A few hours later after chasing around Florida for a couple hundred miles I wanted to look up something on the InterWebs about him and for the life of me, I could not remember his name.
I have noticed a maddening change in my memory since retiring. I can’t say that I was aware of any memory changes before retiring but then I was so busy then that I’m not sure I would have thought of a memory lapse as a memory lapse.I might not have thought about it at all — choosing instead to do battle with the evil troll that was keeping me from remembering whatever detail I had forgotten.
Nowadays there are no trolls or goblins or leprechauns who keep me from remembering things. It’s all on my own head I guess. Life is changing, and I’m not getting any younger, better, prettier, or able to remember little details.
This isn’t a clinical thing. Nothing is preventing me from living a productive life, and I’m not worried about having to stop RV’ing because of my memory, it’s just annoying.
I never developed the habit of note making. Except perhaps for grocery lists; I do keep a grocery list on my iPhone. But I think that is more a function of how far we live from the grocery than how fragile I perceive my memory to be. I’d rather not be driving an extra 25 or 50 miles to get something I left behind at the store! Mostly I’m learning to live with periodic blank spots in life.
It’s funny how selective memory can be. I realize that I’m forgetting certain things because the forgotten things appear as blanks. Peggy has a problem with floaters in her vision — so her vision is obscured by actual ‘things.’ I find my mental vision is obscured by the absence of things; nothing where something is supposed to be. Most commonly it’s a name I forget. Secondly it’s vocabulary I have lost. I used to pride myself on being able to remember both names and to be able to use words meant for specific purposes and while I’m still doing OK I’m not doing as well as I used to.
Where this blog started from is wondering what it’s like if you don’t know what you’ve forgot? I’m not particularly worried about Alzheimers — but my few moments of struggling for a name or searching for a term got me to thinking about what it would be like to wonder what it is that I used to know? When faced with a big white blank spot in my memory I could see how terrifying it could be for an Alzheimer’s patient, and how frustrating to be aware of losing one’s memory and wondering what it was that has been lost! And of course it’s easier to deal with some things if we can put on a smile and treat it lightly rather than getting overly sensitive about something that may not be in anyone’s power to change.
As we age there are some things we can alter, and others we can’t. When we get back to Milwaukee we’re going to visit the Eye Doctor again and have Peg’s vision checked. There’s not a lot we can do about the floaters other than see to it that she has the right prescription and we stay on top of any change in her vision. As for my memory … not much to be done about that…
In the meantime… I’m thinking of getting a tattoo of Stephen Hawking’s name on my arm so I can remember it. But maybe then I’ll look at the tattoo and say, “Who the heck is Stephen Hawking”?
Thanks for stopping, and I’ll be here again tomorrow if you want to chat.