Do you sometimes repeat yourself?
Have you recently misplaced your keys, your wallet, or your third child?
Have you ever rushed into your bedroom to retrieve something, only to realize you can’t remember what it is? You stare intently at your oak bureau as if communion with this inanimate object will somehow trigger your memory.
When this doesn’t work, you employ the old “Retrace Your Steps” tactic. You head back to the kitchen. The phone rings. You remember you need to pick up your son from soccer practice. But your pasta is boiling over. The dog jumps on you. You completely forget what you were looking for in the first place.
Do you sometimes repeat yourself?
If you answered “Yes,” “Sometimes,” “I can’t remember” or “What was the question?” to any of the above, you could be facing a memory crisis.
Fear not: People across the globe are in your same shoes. If they can find them.
Memory loss is supposed to be normal as we get older. It doesn’t necessarily signify the early onset of Alzheimer’s. In fact, according to some recent studies, you begin to lose brain cells in your 20s. Your brain starts to actually shrink before you reach 30 and, by age 80, you may have 10 to 20 percent less “gray matter” than you did as a teen.
WE’RE ALL LOSING OUR MINDS!
In 1965, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) brought hope to millions of women experiencing memory loss and “hot flashes,” a strange physical phenomenon where mom questions why the party theme has changed from “Evening in Paradise” to “Midnight in Hades.”
Women taking HRT quickly discovered it might help rid them of hot flashes and, even better, could possibly improve their memory enough to remember what it felt like to own a perky butt.
But yesterday’s wonder-drug is today’s hot controversy. Some research claims that HRT may not be good for you. Tell that to all of the women who have finally discovered that estrogen is not a facial cleanser.
If humans were like machines, memory loss would be no big deal. We could BUY more memory and simply install it. Sony, for instance, offers virtual memory “sticks” and memory “cards” for their game consoles. You can also purchase flash memory for your cell phone or PDA.
The closest we humans have to flash memory and virtual memory sticks are Post-It notes. You stick a hot pink one on your kitchen counter so you’ll remember to re-schedule the orthodontist appointment you forgot about yesterday. Then the note falls off and gets chewed up by the dog.
Some people employ memory-saving devices like mnemonic rhymes to remember names and facts. They read How-To and Self-Help books to increase their brainpower. They keep their minds fresh with difficult puzzles and memory tests. Balancing my checkbook does it for me.
I stopped smoking, drink moderately, exercise regularly, swallow a variety of antioxidants, dabble in herbal remedies and cross my fingers a lot. I also try to get as much sleep as possible, which is difficult because I’m awake half the night worrying about my memory loss.
Writing down chores seems to be my best memory-saving device. I keep a weekly notebook with mundane daily reminders to myself like “go to bank,” “buy fish food” and “question son about missing beer.”
Sometimes, however, I can’t remember where I leave the notebooks. I wonder aimlessly into my bedroom. Then I stare at the oak bureau…
What were we talking about?