Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 497(270) I Don't Remember That

Welcome to Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

How many times have you forgotten  something? I can't remember. That just ads one more.  How many times I have forgotten something. It must number in the millions or at least the hundreds of thousands. "Senior Moments" some folks call them. l don't like that label. I've forgotten things all of my life. I never had to wait.

That label "Senior moments" disturbs me because I have my medicaid card. I get my senior discounts, social security check and other retirement benefits. And I know about the power of self-fulfilling prophecies. I have only too often seen people rise to or sink to the expectations that are placed upon them by themselves or others. When we expect a specific action to occur it is very likely that it will. We use to call it the power of positive thinking or the lack of confidence factor in our actions.

Some folks might call this sour grapes on my part: this refusal to believe in senior moments but I like to think forgetting is normal behavior. We forget lots of stuff all throughout life. Even as children we had problems remembering things: Mom, where is my little car? Dad, where is my coat? What is that? What is this? Now we would not call them "Senior Moments" would we.

Then of course there were our days in academia - school days. We probably said that line about not remembering a hundred times a day. At least we said it every time we had a test; "I didn't know we were going to have a test?" Or, concerning homework, "I forgot it at home. Now we wouldn't call those "Senior Moments" either. And if we didn't utter "I forgot"  to our parents often we would never have been let out the door to play with our friends. Nor would we have been allowed to continue to breath. I do remember uttering them often to Mom or Dad whenever they asked: "Did you take out the garbage? Did you remember the milk? Did you do the chores? Did you clean your room? Or, did you close the door?" How many examples are there. My dad always used the old cliche, "You would forget your head if it weren't fastened on".

Of course we grew out of childhood and moved into the more responsible roll of adulthood and with it we continued our assault on the ability to remember which way was up. "Where did I put those keys? Do you know where I put my glasses? Didn't I mail that letter? Where is my belt? Where's my phone? Do you know where I put those papers? Again, the list is endless.

Now we stand in the retirement stage. We still forget things; "What are their names? Where is my book" Do you remember where I parked the car? What day is this?" Once again, the list is endless. Then someone mentions that senior moment thing and we start to seriously consider it. Is it true that our mind is starting to fade? Is this the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's? Are we getting that close to the end? These all become just a bit more serious as we age.  

It can get a bit scary at times. If there is one thing we need to remember it is that we have always had trouble remembering things - just like everyone else. It isn't a problem that pops up in retirement to dampen our golden years. It is a human problem that has been with us all of our life.

I now tell my granddaughter who is a computer major that my hard drive (meaning my mind) is almost full. It takes a little longer to find each file there are so many more in my mind than there is in hers. Think of all the experiences, facts, mental pictures and people we have to sort through on a moment to moment basis. It is a lot of stuff. Don't rush me.

I'm not saying we need to protest every time we are accused of having a senior moment but I do think we can enjoy just a little private chuckle knowing that it is a human moment and not a senior moment. And since we are still alive to enjoy retirement we may as well celebrate that fact that we are still around to forget stuff. Seems like there was something else I wanted to say but.....

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