A special feature from Steven Barry – Forget About Forgetting
“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
One of the many prices of aging is the inevitable lack of the ability to quickly bring once readily available facts to the surface. Or to simply say, you start losing your memory. The brain is not defined as one of your body’s muscles, yet requires constant exercise and training all the same. It is perfectly natural to notice a decrease in your cognitive abilities. However, there is no excuse to just accept it as something that happens to everyone.
You can fight back! Just as one runs, walks or goes to the gym, you need to set aside time to give your mind a workout. There are tricks and exercises to help you train your memory. However, having a sense of humor and rolling with it can be the answer to it all! Here’s a fun way to look at this aspect of your life:
- Think about every after-school and extracurricular activity your children participated in and how many times you had to schlep them or their entire group of friends back and forth via carpool. “I had a life of my own you know!” is always a great closer to this tact.
- What was the grand total of toys you picked up and put away during your own kids extended childhood? You can make it even more profitable for your mind if you actually list each toy individually. Extra credit is given for remembering the names of every stuffed animal–that should impress them!
- If you find yourself in a room full of GRANDkids, pay close attention to the one you are talking or playing with (if possible) and do not let what is going on around you distract your concentration. Be in the moment with the one you’re with. He or she will feel very special.
- Take out old photo albums and attempt to name every person in each picture. If you can’t remember, contact a close friend or relative, get the right names and memorize them. Repeat this exercise once a month and before every major holiday.
- Research and memorize the correct medical term for every operation you, any relative or friend has recently encountered: for example: “Your Uncle Harold’s arthroplasty went very well.”
- Learn the pharmaceutical names for each of your medications. “Boy, that Zolpidem really knocked me out last night.”
- Write the names and birthdates of your kids, friends and grandchildren on the back of your hand and don’t wipe them off until you have each and every one of them memorized.
- Learning is still one of the best activities to keep your gray matter functioning at peak performance. There are myriad devices and methods to accomplish this. Subscribe to web sites such as Lumosity. This site tests you in several areas such as memory, attention, and speed. You can actually gauge your progress via these tests. I recommend going to lumosity.com and trying several of their games for free. The tests are fun and challenge your mind in the spaces where brain voids appear as we age.
- Learn a new language using “Rosetta Stone”; go to “The Great Courses.com” and study a complex subject that intrigues you; learn how to count cards for your next trip to Vegas.
There are so many scientifically proven methods out there to slow down your brain’s natural regression as you age. Take advantage of them. And remember this…….well, to be honest I can’t think of exactly what it was….but I’ll remember my own advice eventually!
Steven Barry, writer & producer, lives with his wife in Charleston and enjoys his ‘blended family’ from both sides. As a footnote, he totally loves the idea of aging and pokes fun at it in his writings. A little humor goes a long, long way!