“Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don’t have film.”
~ Steven Wright
I have a terrible memory. And I can’t even blame it on old age or motherhood because I’ve always had a terrible memory. I hated every history class I took in high school, not because I didn’t enjoy learning about the past, but because I couldn’t stand being forced to memorize names, dates, and locations. Memorizing was painful for me. And sadly, all those names and dates and locations that were crammed into my short term memory before a test all evaporated shortly after I spit them out on paper.
Of course it’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I’ve tried doing all those tricks that experts say will help keep our memories sharp as we age, but they don’t seem to help. I’ve played word and number games like crossword puzzles and Sudoku. I use both sides of my brain by periodically getting out of bed on the opposite side or brushing my teeth with my non dominant hand. I exercise regularly, I get plenty of sleep, and I eat relatively well. Nothing works. My memory still stinks.
Most of the time I remember that I forget. I’m aware that I’m forgetful so I make sure I’m prepared to compensate for it. I’m rarely caught without a pen and Post-It notes. I update both a calendar and a daily planner. I send emails to myself. And most recently, Mr. Roller Coaster bought me a digital voice recorder for those times when I’m unable to jot things down. I may have a terrible memory, but at least I remember that I forget.
But then there are times that I don’t remember that I forget, times when my memory is so atrocious that I actually forget that I remember. Case in point, last night I had just allowed my body to totally shut down in bed when I realized I forgot to turn off the hall light. So I groaned, got up, and turned off the light. On my way back to my room I realized I had forgotten to turn down the thermostat too, so I took care of that and patted myself on the back for killing 2 birds with 1 trip to the hallway. I crawled back into bed, grabbed my book, and got 3 sentences in when I thought, “Oh man, I forgot to turn down the thermostat.” Another groan and I’m back in the hallway, only to realize that I had indeed already turned it down. How could I have forgotten that I remembered the last time I got up?! Yes, my memory is that bad.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my memory is as fleeting as my 3-year-old daughter’s. I will never remember being alive before the age of 7. I will never remember any item on my grocery list if, heaven forbid, I leave the list at home. I will never remember my own cell phone number. I will never remember details unless I write them down. And I will certainly never remember all those history facts I memorized in high school. But hopefully I’ll remember the important things in life.
And if not, at least I have my blog, a digital camera, my newly discovered diary from 1989, and plenty of Post-It notes to help me along the way.
Do you have a sharp memory or are you like me who can’t remember anything?