MEMORY AND THE LOSS THEREOF
Like many people, I have hoped for a long and fruitful life, but now I’m reconsidering. New statistics show that 50% of Nonagenarians suffer from Alzheimer’s or other brain deterioration diseases. How scary is that?
I try my best to enhance my brain power with brain-boosting exercises; I study Spanish; I do crosswords and word jumbles; I eat healthy food. I walk three or four times a week (admittedly, only on some weeks); I lead art tours; I do research; I’m writing a mystery; several of my short stories have been published; I watch Jeopardy, and often I surprise myself by being right up there with the answers—though when it comes to most sports, rock bands and TV sitcoms, I have no clue.
Even so, my memory continues to falter. I find myself running out to the garage for something and finding I can’t remember what I wanted so desperately. I leave home to do errands, and when I reach the bottom of the hill, I ask myself, “And where are you headed today?” If a friend recommends a book or a movie, unless I immediately write the title down, it disappears within seconds. During conversations, I forget the names of well-known personages and events; the names do eventually pop into my mind-often in the middle of the night.
I used to have a terrific memory. I could repeat whole conversations, word for word; I could detail happenings as if I were still there. In college I would regale my roommates with an action by action retelling of my latest date.
My husband often complained, “How come you remember everything I ever did wrong?” I suspect this type of comment is made by most married men; they don’t hold grudges for as long as we do.
What’s strange is that my son seems to remember his childhood differently than I do. I’m often shocked to hear his account of past events. My answer: “I said what?” or “I did what—no way.” But once, after he argued that I attended Boston University with my husband, I nailed him. Of course I didn’t; I know what colleges I attended. Just don’t ask me that question when I’m ninety.
Currently, PBS is airing Use Your Brain to Change Your Age.
I’m definitely going to watch.
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