One of the advantages of growing old is having the knowledge of all of the years that have passed, stored up in your memory. Useful things like knowing that the earth is round and the sun always sets in the West, that your wife’s birthday was May 4th or was that April 4th? Danged if I can remember.
As long as you can still recall things and are not having too many “senior moments” it is very useful sometimes. You can impress people with your knowledge of a subject and as long as the subject doesn’t change, you do fine. Change the subject and the gears don’t move fast enough to recall anything.
It’s a question of being prepared. Like having to Google your brain to see just what it is willing to give up.
Like when you are at a gathering in the middle of a conversation and suddenly, you come out with something, a thought that just crossed your mind, that has absolutely nothing to do with the proceedings or the current conversation. When people look at you in disbelief you realize you have probably just said something out of line but for the life of you, cannot remember just what it was.
Or you are in a meeting and are plunging ahead with your point of view when you have the floor,only to lose your train of thought and you keep babbling in the hope that it will come back. Usually it doesn’t and what started out as a perfectly good sound scientific argument ends up as complete drivel.
How often have you gone from one room to another to get something only to forget what it was you went into the other room for and end up having to retrace your steps and thoughts in the hope of remembering what was so important to make you want to go into the other room anyway. Sometimes, it comes back to you and others, it doesn’t.
What is interesting about these minor lapses is the feeling of real pride and accomplishment when you do remember. Instead of it being just a normal memory recall, It is like a miracle moment.
I think the worst “blank” of all with many people is remembering people’s names. I can be introduced and have this wonderful ability to immediately forget the name of the person I was just introduced to. I usually spend the rest of the conversation looking for clues. Don’t talk to me about names. Smart and intelligent people who are talking to an older person who they haven’t seen in a while, sometimes have the sense, when they introduce themselves, to remind you of who they are and maybe what connection they have with you. This helps immensely as the gears and cogs in the brain have something to guide them to make the remembering process a bit shorter and not so painful. If they don’t, you spend the entire rest of the conversation wondering who they are, as to how do you know them or they you. It’s considered rude to address them as “Hey, you” to get their attention.
When I coached little kids at soccer, I had a set of twins on the team who did look pretty much alike. So the Mother, in order to help me, dressed the kids out differently with one in black boots and shorts and the other in red. Trouble was, I could never remember who was which color so I still got it wrong. At least the odds were good in my favor as I always had a one in two chance I would be right.
You young people out there, if you think I am making this up, make the most of having a good memory as I can guarantee that when you grow old, it will happen to you. I am not talking about anything serious like Alzheimer’s but just normal day-to-day memory lapses that can be both embarrassing and sometimes funny. Just don’t let them turn deadly.
One consolation is that when you do say or do the wrong thing, others put it down to you being “old and forgetful”. It gets you out of a lot of hot water and you can get away with a lot of good stuff.