Another problem I’m having as I get older, reinforced by my turning 65 last week, is the slow dissipation of my memory. It started a few years ago with the memory of names… first of television and movie actors who I would see on screen and know that I knew who they were, but I was unable to come up with the name. A couple of hours later, while driving home, the name would pop into my mind.
That was bad enough… but then I started forgetting the names of students when I was teaching, or actors that I had directed a couple of days after the play was over, or people who I had known for a long time. Then I started to forget certain words, while I remembered their definitions. Weird.
I don’t remember dates and appointments (but, then again, I never used to, either) so I am completely dependent on the Calendar app in my computer, which I check with regularity and update constantly. I often carry a little blank page book with me to write down things that come up in conversation that I want to remember, or ideas for projects I may want to do or articles for this blog. Taking notes becomes more and more important.
To try and hold off the increasing loss of what seems to be verbal memory (I have no trouble remembering how to DO things or how to get to places I’ve been before) I am dedicated to doing five or six crossword puzzles a week… and of those I take on the most difficult: reprinted volumes of NY Times Sunday Puzzles. This keeps me coming up with words and names and solutions to word puzzles, puns and the rare bottom-of-the-list dictionary definitions that don’t always fit the common use of a certain word.
Names are a problem for me on crosswords as well… but I find that gaining two or three cross letters pops a remembered name into my mind fairly quickly. If that happened in everyday life occurances (“isn’t that A___o_ K______?” says my wife. “Yes, it’s Ashton Kutcher,” I come back with) some of my problems would get smaller… but they wouldn’t quite go away.
And there’s the blog. As long as I keep writing and using words, no matter how many times I consult a dictionary or a Thesaurus or a copy of Stage Directions magazine, I keep them all somewhere in my head.
I’m told it doesn’t get better… but I’m working hard to hold off oncoming darkness.
- Puzzles|Interactive Crossword Puzzle-3 (techtimely.wordpress.com)
- Friday: Celebrity Guest Blogger Dana Delany (wordplay.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Film: Random Roles: Rob Reiner (avclub.com)
- LOCAL THEATER: WWCA’s funny Forum’ frolic will leave you wanting more (kitsapsun.com)
- Associate Specific Sounds with Learning to Reinforce Your Memory While You Sleep [Brain Hacks] (lifehacker.com)