Forgetting

In the course of my training as an educational psychologist I studied the brain. Primarily development and learning. Later in my career, as I moved on to get my MFT license, I worked with the elderly and pursued education in the area of the aging brain. I really liked learning about the brain so much of my required continuing education was within this area as well.

Nothing prepared me for my own aging brain. Nothing I learned reassures me when I walk from one room to the next and forget why I’m there. When I am about to write something down and the dog walks in or my husband says something and I spend the rest of the day trying to recall what it was that was so important I needed to write it down what I have learned doesn’t make it feel better. No secret knowledge of normal aging and decline in brain functioning reassures me when I can’t think of the name or the word that I need at that moment. It is all terribly frustrating.

Then there is that other part of my brain. Call it long term memory, although it is more complicated than that. The part that remembers every word to the hot dog song I learned in fourth grade and allows me to sing it to my dog. ( I know a wienie man, he owns a hot dog stand, he sells most everything from hot dogs on down. Bo Bo Bo.♪)

Or the time while huffing and puffing away on the elliptical machine the Joni Mitchel song “The Same Situation” plays and I am instantly transported back to 1980. Everything about the little house I lived in (how dusty and dirty it was, the view, the sounds) comes to mind. Everything about sitting in my rocker, looking out at the bay, listening to this exact song is instantly accessible. How I felt as a young woman in love. How I had just fallen in love with my future husband and how I was molding myself and my expectations for him. How much pain I felt that I could never live up to those expectations. It was a sad moment for me, those memories. Because, of course, I am looking at those emotions from a wise old crone point of view.

What if I had done things differently? Then I wouldn’t be where I am today. Maybe worse, maybe better.

But you know what? I kind of like the whole wise old crone thing.