Weekly Thought Archives > The Memory Game

The Memory Game

Friends of mine who are being dragged into their 50s (middle age to me at 91+) complain of “losing their mind” when it’s only their recall that is slowing down.  They still have strong reasoning power and good decision making skills.


They are experiencing a weakening of their recall system.  As I grew older I felt the same frustration and anxiety.


When I thought it through I realized that I have a mind, a memory and a recall system. The mind does the thinking, the memory does the warehousing of data and the recall is our retrieval method. 


Now that my short-term memory is very capricious I have developed a game which defeats frustration.  In fact, I have learned to enjoy it!


The warehouse of my memory still contains all of my experiences.  When I cannot bring a name or a word to mind I don’t blame it on my memory because if you recalled it for me it would be perfectly clear. 


I have decided that it is the little warehousemen who have faithfully brought me what I needed just when I needed it.  Now they are as old as I am, have arthritis, move slowly, have failing eyes and misread labels on the files.  They are operating with a system that is 91+…


The other day I was waiting when the worker I sent came back and reported that he forgot what I ordered.  I told him, “so did I.”  So we forgot about it.


A special weakness of mine is not remembering a full name.  I tried the alpha system, but it doesn’t work well for me.  When I can’t recall a word or name I reassure my friends that it will come in the middle of the night ---- and sure enough, it does.


Once I was speaking to an Alcoholics Anonymous group on the 7 C’s of marriage.  Not having notes I could not recall the 5th point.  This was especially laughable to the audience who enjoyed that I forgot the fifth! 


If I can give you the antidote for the frustration that arises with the loss of recall it is relax and be patient with the little guys working in the warehouse.



This week think about: 1) What memories are the most important to me? 2) How can I build great memories for my old age? 3) What strengthens my recall system?