Isn't it funny how easily we can become distracted? I sat down here at my desk half an hour ago with the mindset that I was going to write on here again and in the process I thought of someone I hadn't thought of in a while and decided to check Facebook "first" before coming here. Half an hour and about 10 side trips later, I finally arrived here. Now I only have a small window of time to write, not the hour I'd planned on. Oh well. My intentions were good anyway.
My little side trip down the road reminds me of what an organized mind for detail I once had. I could recall names and faces from diaper-hood onward. You needed a phone number? I'd rattle it off for you. I excelled at the jobs I had in Medical Records when I was younger because I had a photographic memory when it came to numbers. I did fantastic playing "Jeopardy" from my living room...my mind was an overflowing source of junk yard trivia. People playing any kind of trivia game would call me to see if an answer was true and I was always correct. Always.
Well. That was then, this is now. My new reality the past few years is accepting the fact that the ol' mind just ain't what it used to be. What gives me comfort is knowing just about everyone over the age of 60 is rowing the same boat. I'll open the pantry door and for the life of me I can't remember why I did. I double-check and second-guess myself on just about everything. I sometimes catch myself thinking as I'm driving, "Now...where did I need to go?" I blame it on moving 2400 miles from Portland to a whole new region that I'm still learning. But, honestly...in reality I'd temporarily forgotten. It used to freak me out, until I read something Anna Quindlen had written about getting older. She had gone to her doctor thinking she had early-onset Alzheimer's because she was forgetting so many things. I loved her doctor's response. She said (and I paraphrase because I read it awhile back and can't remember the direct quote--typical, ha!) "Think of your mind as an empty file cabinet you started filling on the day you were born. Every thought, every memory, has been filed into that cabinet. At our ages, the cabinet is full to overflowing and sometimes it's just too much to keep track of." Or something like that. But it reassured Anna and it reassured me. I love some of the funny memes on Facebook about people dealing with the same thing. Makes me feel so not-alone when I go searching for my glasses and find them tucked up onto the top of my head five minutes later. Or when I have to check and recheck a recipe when I'm cooking dinner, even tho I've made the dish many times thru the years. Oh, it can be terribly frustrating at times, but just like with so many other aspects of growing old, I take it in good grace and humor. I don't want to be one of those cranky, bitter old ladies who sits and complains about everything. I don't want to feel the need to share the details of my bowel movements and every ache and pain with those around me. They don't care. Why should I? You can sit and fret the rest of your life, or you can look at the days you have left the way the good Lord wants you to. As a gift.