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Gear Shifting

I’m attempting to understand what happens as we grow older. Actually, what I’m really trying to figure out is why I forget so darn much.

A recent article turned a light on about aging and what we remember and what we forget. 

The author called it ‘mind weeding’. As we add years to our lives, we also are adding incidents, memories, beliefs, thoughts, and actions. 

At 20 there isn’t a lot I’ve stored in my memory closet. At 50, the closet is beginning to look like its needs some cleaning out, and by 70, a bulldozer is needed to remove stuff we haven’t looked at or thought about in decades.

So, our minds do a bit of house cleaning. We begin to discard those memories we think aren’t important to remember, like my 34th birthday celebration. Did I even celebrate that day, and if so how? I haven’t the foggiest idea. 

What about January 13, 2008? Was that a memorable day? If so, too bad, ‘cause it has been thrown in the memory trash bin. 

My mind helps me by doing the cleaning necessary for me to not explode with information. It automatically sucks up the old like a new vacuum cleaner, and it does it quietly so I don’t even know it’s gone.

If I happen to want to remember some incident that happened 42 years ago, I go to my memory closet, and look through all the boxes, but am reminded the trash has been emptied of all that unnecessary debris. 

So, I can’t remember mundane incidents. So what? Do I care what I ate for lunch two days ago or even if I ate lunch that day? How important is that information in my day to day routine?

The loss of certain memories may be frustrating at times, but it probably won’t alter my life in a meaningful way. My conversations may be a bit choppy as I search for a word I knew this morning but can’t recall right now. I remind myself it’s like wanting to wear that wonderful purple blouse that was discarded a year ago. It is long gone, and perhaps it will come ‘back around’, but it may not.

It makes life easier if you surround yourself with people your own age. Their minds may be in first gear, trying to shift gears but forgetting about needing to step on the clutch. 

If you have any idea what that last sentence means, then welcome to my friend group. You will fit right in.

4 thoughts on “Gear Shifting

  1. For quite awhile now, I’ve been saying that my hard drive is full and needs defragmenting – but that pertains more to the fact that these days I forget things I thought of 1 minute ago (or less, sometimes) as opposed to not remembering things from the past. It’s like “okay, what was it I meant to do when I got here”, or “what was it I just thought I needed to look up”? It bothers me.

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  2. Did I celebrate my 34th birthday? I don’t know, can’t remember if I celebrated it this year either. Shifting out of 1st gear now, ready to fly down what’s left of my road.

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