May 25th, 2010

Abstract Thoughts


People who knew me when I was younger knew I had an amazing memory for facts, dates, times and conversations. I could (and often did) repeat years old conversations verbatim. I always had a good calendar in my head for when bills were due, when appointments were, birthdays, phone numbers, and who needed to do what to get a project done.

As I get older, I can feel my memory slipping away. It feels a little bit like losing my mind. No longer can I glance at an email, absorb it and retain the relevant data. I have to make lists of what I am doing, when bills are due and generally keep a written calendar. Otherwise, I miss things. I forget things.

It was forgivable that I didn't call my mom on her birthday because I was at a writing retreat. It is not forgivable that I forgot my dad's birthday. In fact, it is downright frustrating because two days before, I reminded myself to call my dad on his birthday. I repeated it to myself long enough for it to get into long term memory but didn't remember it until the day after my dad's birthday. When I called, he wasn't home.

Today I discovered that I was 4 days late on a credit card bill—something that is forbidden in my world especially since I have a finance book coming out next month. I also realized that something I've been waiting on and mentally grousing about for weeks has been sitting in my inbox for six weeks. SIX WEEKS. All because I glanced at the email title, made an assumption, glanced at the attachment, saw only one word of it that appeared to be relevant to my assumption and then ignored it, thinking I had taken care of things already.

Too many big mistakes. I feel like I'm losing me sometimes. It's not me to forget things like this. It's not me to not comprehend things quickly. I'm not an old woman. I shouldn't have to worry about this crap. Instead of being who I once was, I have to stop, think, write down, consider, crosscheck and pray I'm not missing something… every damn day. It hurts me to have to do this. It hurts me sore.

Part of me wonders if this is what most people are like all their lives and I've been lucky until now. If so, I'm sorry. I used to be so bloody impatient with people who could not "get it" as quickly as I did. I'm also sorry for me. Because like the ace in high school who never had to study and is suddenly challenged in college, I have to learn all of these memory techniques late in life and, for the record, this sucks.