Thursday, August 19, 2010

Memory is a Mysterious Thing

Some nights, as I put my head on my pillow, I feel that I've forgotten more in my day than remembered. With many demands on my time and mind, I seem unequal to the task of remembering everything and everyone.

I use the usual tools; notebooks and calendars primarily. But I know that, when my commitments become too many, a certain amount of information tends to go 'whoosh'; straight over my head instead of into my brain where it belongs.

As things come up that require my attention and I schedule them or do some preliminary action required, I check off the virtual to do list. Then I no longer think of the matter. Sales reps often show up in the shop with appointments I've made and then promptly forgotten about (because I've forgotten to look at my calendar that day).

I also seem to remember fewer of the small details people share with me. It's true, they usually return quickly once a discussion is continued but I often feel remiss in not being the one who brings up a previous point of importance to them.

Lately, I've begun to wish that my brain was more like a computer; able to store away and then pull up entire files of information at the push of a key. How convenient to be able to parcel out the minutes of our day, confident in the knowledge that what we need to remember will be there as and when we need it. No scrambling for the proper paperwork. No arriving after guests. No falling asleep with last minute thoughts of what didn't get done rambling about in our brains.

Of course I do realize that what has to get done always does. I have always believed that what doesn't get done was not as important or it would have had higher priority on the list and not been neglected. But I wonder - is the capacity of my mental 'list' shrinking over time?

Perhaps it's time that I develop some new and clearer habits for remembering than what has been working for me in the past. String on my finger is no longer doing the trick.

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