• David Unger PhD

I Forgot But That's Okay



As I get older I forget more. That is not news. Most of what I forget I don't really care about. Sure, it can be embarrassing when I can't remember someone's name or something that used to come easily to mind. I can get frustrated at times as the word I am looking for seems to have disappeared from my personal dictionary. There weren't that many words in my vocabulary to begin with so to lose some is a bit distressing. But, all in all, I don't really mind that much my memory loss.


Of course some people fear that memory loss is an indicator of worse things to come. And, it may be. But I worry enough about the things in my immediate future that to take on long term worry is not advantageous to my health. So, I tend not to read the articles about dementia and Alzheimer's because until I read about a cure being found I don't need the added stress.


One thing that has helped me feel better is a recent piece of research. Researchers at the University of Toronto, or at least that is where I think they were from, analyzed "data on memory, forgetfulness, and brain activity in both humans and animals" and concluded that "brains may be designed to forget old memories in order to make room for new ones - sort of like you used to do with VHS tapes, if you can remember what those were."


So I am feeling much better about my memory loss. In the therapy world we would call this research "normalizing." It tells you that you don't need to freak out, it's normal to forget. Also normal to freak out, get frustrated and worry.


I remember having a brain researcher come to my class, don't ask me his name, and he told the students that it was okay to play games on their phones as it did help keep their brains active, but it would be best if they tried out new games instead of just playing the same ones over and over. While that made sense to me, it also bothered me because I am finding as I get older I like the familiar. When I was younger I would opt for more stimulation, more new, more different. Now I like routine, knowing where things are and endeavor to put things back where I found them. Of course, once I am in a new situation I like the stimulation it affords. I just find I'm not choosing door number 3 quite so often.




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