Friday, January 26, 2007

memory loss

{my ever-present grocery and to-do lists, without which I am hopeless}


OK, it's official: I have serious memory problems.

Some examples:

I read on Crystalyn's blog about being a happiness-maker. It really resonated with me, and I was inspired! I too wanted to be a happiness-maker! Fast forward to yesterday when I was reading her blog again and she happened to make a reference to being a happiness-maker. Oh, yeah! That happiness-maker thing! I loved that! Never mind I had completely forgotten all about it, even though I truly wanted to keep that in my mind and work on developing that in my life. sigh.

I cannot for the life of me remember the movies I have seen or the books I have read. And I love movies, and books (but especially books). You might see this as a boon, since I can easily re-watch and re-read things and it's almost as if it were the first time. I see it is a bane, since when asked what I thought of a book that I read, say, 2 months ago, I am reduced to a blathering idiot, something along the lines of: "uh, yeah, I think I remember that I liked it". Not to mention all of the tremendously rich insights acquired through all my reading, just imagine how wise I would be if I could retain those... which brings me to one of my favorite quotes:

"If I had a memory for all that I've read, I'd be dangerous." -- Georgia (Jenn's mom)

I want to be dangerous!

Remember my post about my one word for 2007, how I ruminated over different words for a week until I found the one word that could sum up what I want to accomplish this year, the one word that I can use as my mantra, my inspiration? Well, as I've been reading other people's posts about the word they have chosen, I have found myself thinking, "well, what a great idea! I kind of forgot about how I was doing that too..." It doesn't really do me any good if I can't even remember to focus on it, now does it?? Evidently, I need to make myself a sign of some sort to remind me of my word (free). Or perhaps many signs.

My aunt Denise asked me a few months ago to take some pictures of Eva's crib bedding and email them to her, as she wanted some reference photos in case she ever needs to make bumper pads (for pay). A few days after that, I went in and took said photos. I even loaded them on to my computer and converted them to web-quality. But have I ever actually gotten around to firing off that email? No. I'm embarrassed to even think about how many weeks in a row I had this item on my to-do list. I finally got so sick of seeing it on my to-do list that I left it off, thinking that I would just do it already so it could quit weighing on me that I am so lame. Well, you can see where I'm going with this... as soon as it was off my to-do list, I completely forgot about it. (So... maybe I have problems with prioritizing as well as memory loss.)

It is truly embarrassing the number of times I have gone to cub scouts and then had to run back home to get something I forgot. One time I even forgot Max! (don't ask) I couldn't even begin to count the times someone has called to ask me about something I was supposed to do, only for me to realize it had fled my mind.

This is a dangerous problem. It has frightening possibilities for me being a flake, something I really and truly do not want to be. What to do? I can't very well make myself signs about every little thing that I need to remember. If I did, my home would be completely overrun with clutter (not that we're not verging on that already). Do I need memory-sharpening tools? What would those be? Help!

Oh, and Denise: in case you happen to still want those photos, I am going to send them to you. Right now, before I forget.

20 comments:

Amy said...

Isn't Ginko Biloba a memory enhancing herb (supposedly)? Maybe you could try that. My granfather is kind of obsessed with his memory. Whenever he can't remember something he starts to worry and reads books about enhancing memory. I just think you have so much going on--too much to remember causes total meltdown. I'm like you. I always think, "I should make a sign for. . . ." fill in the blank. But if I made a sign for everyting I wanted to remember my house would be covered in signs. Though I do think you should make some sort of representation of your word for the year. Something you could display in your home, or at least your craft room.

Tasha said...

I feel the same way since having a child. I seriously have problems. Last year I was on a medication for my headaches that caused memory loss and I was completely impaired. I would think about things I had done or heard and remember them as if they were a dream, and wonder if they were real or a dream. I'd have conversations for work with Bishops and then not remember if I actually called the Bishop and talked to him, or if I just thuoght about it...

Glad to know I am in good company!

Amie said...

We even ordered the Focus Factor free trial. Jimmy took it but I don't remember noticing any drastic improvement.

I think some of this just comes with more on our plate. I used to think I had a great memory and wasn't a flake. Now I am not at all offended by a call reminding me about what I said I would do. I feel dumb that I can genuinely forget things (I think I thought people were faking it so they could get out of things). I can totally relate to your post, I have to ask Jimmy if I have seen this movie before and have been known to call Jill to ask her if I read that book. The upside is that I can enjoy them again.

Lists definitely help - when I remember to use them. Yours looks so neat and orderly. Let us know if you find the memory sharpening tool.

annalisa said...

Did you send off the email? :)
I stuck my word up on my bathroom mirror with letter stickers, but I like Amy's idea to put it in your craft room, or maybe on your white fridge!
It's those #%*@ (I mean cute) kids that ruin your memory. Having to keep track of a whole other person times the amount of children you have takes up more memory capacity than you have.

Crystalyn said...

you make me laugh michelle. i just think we have SO MUCH to think about and manage it's no wonder that we forget about things that aren't right in front of us.

a little trick that i've learned (which sounds insanely silly but really works for me) is instead of telling myself not to forget things i tell myself that i need to remember them. for example, this morning instead of telling myself not to forget my glucose drink for my dr. appt. i kept telling myself "i need to remember to take my drink." it seems when i say, "i can't forget this" i'm already telling my brain to forget it. another thing i do is keep a pad by my bed because i seem to remember things when i'm going to bed. i've also been known to set things right by the door.

clearly, i have a memory problem too ( :

Alison said...

I think part of memory is a fluke, and sometimes even (gasp!) a choice. I know that as a person who has never suffered from major memory issues, it's easy for me to sit here and spit that out, but I have a reason for this hypothesis. Nick has the worst.memory.of.all.time. I have an excellent memory (thankfully). Now, Nick can never remember any of the various things I bring up, but he has retained every single book he has read to a frightening degree, and is able to memorize a Shakespeare monologue or any kind of text at a breakneck pace. And yet, if I asked him about any kind of random shit from our relationship... NOTHING. I wish I was interesting as South Asian politics or something? I want to say memory is a fluke, because if he remembering the plot of all his geeky comic books rather than the VERY IMPORTANT DETAILS of what I was wearing on our first date... that could make a girl cry!

Amy S. said...

Oh, I'm so glad there are other people out there like me. I'm endlessly frustrated by this problem. Love what you said about "wanting to be dangerous". Very well put. Amen.

melanie said...

I am the girl that makes the list and forgets it. I set things up and have the hardest time remembering where I'm supposed to be. I'm with everyone else, my memory is way worse after kids. I mean it's January and still I have booked a hair appt at the same time I'm supposed to be picking up Kat. What's up with that?

Good Luck, I hope you find the solution. If you do make sure and market it well!

Melinda said...

I have so many lists going on. I forget everything. I think the more kids we have there is more going on and just more to forget. I hate being the flakey lady but I just can't help it. We joke in our family that we are turning into our mom. She forgets everything.

There was one time I was meeting my sister to let her borrow my boch mixer for a holiday. I drove the 30 mins to meet her only to realize I forgot the mixer!!

It is nice to know I am not the only one suffering from this. Maybe we really do lose brain cells every time we have a kid?

Robyn said...

I truly believe that with each child our brain capacity gets worse and worse. I think if they did an MRI or something they would see that the neurons or whatever AREN'T firing away in there like they used to! I can just hear the Dr. saying, "oh, this is a drastic case. Only 35% of the brain is still active..."

I love this post b/c it makes me feel like I am not so ditzy. I hate when I forget things. Jared makes so much fun of me but I think, "Well, yeah, if I only had myself to feed, dress, take to the bathroom, etc, I wouldn't have a problem either!" When you have 3 others to look after, plus do all the normal chores of your daily routine... it's a challenge. The books, movies, and other minutia don't really take priority.

I can make a list RIGHT before I leave for the store but if I forget to take it in with me, I am hopeless. I try to visualize the note in front of me but it's no use. I rely so much on my lists too! I have them all over the place. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ones that stick to your fridge.

Hannah said...

I am getting like this and it is maddening. I know part of it is being pregnant, but I am not as sharp in my post-kid days. Strangely comforting to know so many of us are suffering through the same thing.

What has helped me a lot lately: when I get up I make a NEW list every morning of the to do stuff. I find that re-writing the same things over and over again makes me feel the guilt to finally do them. Good luck!

Jill said...

You know I share your memory-loss woes as well. I do tend to remember movies pretty well, but not always. It drives me crazy that I forget what I read. Lately I find myself walking into a room and knowing that I was going there to get something but then just standing there trying to remember. Of course, I can't remember so I turn around to leave and then several minutes later only to think "duh" and go back for the item I was originally going to get. It's maddening!

Elizabeth said...

I also suffer but hope it is just sllep deprivation induced. I and holding onto to the hope that once I get enough sleep it will all come back to me.
Your to do lists are so cute. Maybe it would motivate me more if I had cute paper to write on!

Jenny said...

I am glad I am not the only one who forgets what they read. Maybe thats why I don't read very often...and sucked in school. I can't retain!

Oh, and to make you feel better my inlaws have been asking me to find them reservations for a hotel here for the past month. Have I called yet? Nope. Guess I better go do that right now!

jenn said...

the accompanying curse of bad memory is guilt and panic- knowing you are supposed to do something, be somewhere... but you don't know what or where!!
I have NO solutions but LOTS of sympathy! And I LOVE seeing your lists with your OH SO CUTE handwriting! Maybe I'd be more attentive to my lists if I liked looking at my handwriting!

amy m said...

I am like this as well. I usually always forget something when I walk out of the house. Adam won't drive away until we've gone over everything and I make sure I've got it all. Sadly I usually run inside for something.

I agree with everyone. It probably is a product of just having so much to remember and so much to do for all the people in our house. I love the quote you shared...I'd like to be dangerous too.

I usually have to make myself notes all over the place so I don't forget. I always think I'll remember, but I don't.

Diana said...

Jessie and I talked about this very thing last night. We both have your problem. I seriously hate that I can't remember the things that I read, or movies that I watch. I'm pretty decent about remembering events in my life but wow anything factual and I have difficulty. I don't know what has happened to me I was always a very good student but now...

amy w. said...

I can't tell you how great it was to read your post. I forget so many things that I am really embarrassed. It makes me feel like an airhead, and THAT drives me crazy.

And leaving Max . . . that sounds like a good story.

Kristi Brooke said...

you and me both girl.

can i tell you how many times i have thougth since reading your free post, which i loved, to make you a sign with the word FREE. i am an idea gal but not a follow through gal...

mom said...

There is simply not enought space on the memory card of a creative thinker's brain. I suffer from this problem as well and I am convinced that it is not just old age. It goes with the territory of living with creative moxy. That being said, carry on!

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