a little short on the short term

doryThe other day I carried a pile of clothes for the dry cleaner out to my car. I tossed them onto the front passenger seat, along with my purse, and then went into the yard to water the plants before I left.

When I returned to the car and settled into the driver’s seat, I looked over and felt momentarily confused by the pile of fabric next to me. What the hell is that?  It was only a matter of seconds before I remembered, and I laughed at my momentary forgetfulness, but this kind of thing is happening more and more often.

For years now I have been failing to remember why I just went into a room, or opened a cupboard door. I have also experienced a steady increase in words stuck “on the tip of my tongue.” And I am unable to remember tasks if I haven’t written them down.

All of this is normal, I’m sure, for someone my age. I’m not worried that I’m on the verge of Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.  But it is annoying.  I wrote something quickly, and sloppily, on my shopping list not long ago, and couldn’t decipher or remember what I had written twenty minutes after the fact.

I am on my way to becoming an elderly person who has no idea what happened yesterday. Though I have no trouble recalling things that occurred forty years ago. And I hate the way this is so stereotypical.

Aging is a bit embarrassing. It’s like puberty in the way I am going through a natural phase of life, and everyone knows it.  Everyone can see it.  In spite of inwardly feeling not much different than my younger self, the outward signs are unmistakable. My hair is white. My jowls are drooping. I have a giant age spot on my forehead. And I cannot rise gracefully after sitting on the floor to play with my grandchildren.

So far I have been able to accept the physical changes that aging bring. They are a part of who I am now.  But the decline of my mental capabilities makes me feel really old.

It is one thing to be an active, aging baby-boomer, and quite another to be unable to remember the ingredients of a recipe, or the title of a movie.  It’s frustrating. Demoralizing. And certain to get worse. Though I can only hope it does so slowly. And maybe someday I’ll forget how good my memory used to be.

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