birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Memory Lapse

Lately—or who knows how long—I've been forgetting things. Just a small thing, like a name of a restaurant or the name of the person who I just saw walk in the room. I'm 63 years old and I hear and read that forgetting things comes with age. But, I'm now realizing it happens more often. My husband and son remind me in not subtle ways that I misspoke or fill in the word for me that I can't come up with mid-conversation.

It is somewhat scary to feel my memory catching or having such holes in it. My mom, who is 88, is just starting to repeat herself or misstate facts. But, I don't remember her being stumped by names or struggling to find a common word, back when she was my age. I kind of like talking with two of my sisters who seem to have a similar problem. When I talk on the phone and they stop me to write down what I'm saying because otherwise they'd forget gives me a little reassurance that I'm not alone.

I wonder why the human brain does this? I've probably read about the reasons, and have forgotten them. My speculation is that it is starting the release program. Starting to allow me to not expect my memory to be so intact in getting ready for the big good-bye. Hopefully, that will not come for another 20-30 years.

Its just that I could tell you every detail of most books and movies I'd experienced as a younger person. People would often tell me, "cut to the chase" or some such phrase as I'd love including every detail of the story I'd just experienced. Now, I nod when someone mentions a name we have in common and usually by the time they've finished the tale, I'm just figuring out who they are talking about. My teacher friends at the school I retired from were very aware of this problem for me. They'd start a story...catch my blank eyes trying to figure out who they were talking about...then give me a physical description of the person until I clicked (or pretended to) onto the person they were discussing. It is rather disconcerting to have to fake a recollection of the subject of a story and then keep wondering who I'm hearing about for the next five minutes.

Anyway, this is my reality. In my day to day life, I function fine in the world. I only occasionally get lost or wonder why I'm standing in the room with full intention of doing something...I know those days are probably ahead of me. I call it my "slippage." Slipping away and stumbling in my language—I suppose this experience is one of the little things regarding aging.