I Have a Mind Like a Steel Sieve

Ironically, I can vividly remember talking to the doctor about my worsening memory.  And I can remember exactly when things started becoming hard to remember.  I was in my late 30s.  At my annual physical, I explained to my doctor how I was forgetting things now when in the past I had prided myself on my steel trap mind.  Her response was that I was experiencing a normal part of aging and that “if you can’t remember where you left the keys, that’s normal, but if you can’t remember what a key does, that’s not.”

Thus began my official entrance into the “senior moments” years when I was barely even knocking on the door to middle-age:(

I’d love to tell you all sorts of funny stories about my failing memory and my life… but I can’t remember most of them!  My husband is getting a lot of mileage out of this whole phenomenon because he has had a bad memory for as long as I have known him and I did used to give him a hard time about it now and again.  My teen is most impatient.  “Mom, you already asked me that!”  “Mom, I explained that to you twice already!”  I have to keep screaming with frustration patiently telling him that I would not ask again if I remembered.  My job as his mom may be to make his life miserable but there are much easier and more fun ways to do it!  The worst part about him knowing my memory is slipping is that he is always convinced that he is the one person in our house who remembers things correctly and therefor should get the final word on disagreements.  But hubby and I agree, bad memories aside, that teen memory is pretty darn selective and sometimes the old foggies are the ones who are correctly recalling events!

I am a big believer in notes now.  I have a pad in the car.  I have a pad in my nightstand that lights up with the push of a button.  I have a pad at the side of my bathroom sink.  Now I just have to remember my thoughts long enough to get them down on paper and write enough detail so that I can remember the whole concept.  This blog post actually started in the shower one day and by the time I got out to write down the idea, I had forgotten the entire concept!  Funny how that comes back to me later.

So I guess this is just one more part of aging that I have to accept.  Fortunately, many of the people in my life are experiencing the same thing so can understand when I respond to a request with “I will if I remember.”  And I have started many a conversation with “Stop me if I told you this already.”  I’m adjusting, adapting.  And finding it hard to believe that it has already been 10 years of not being able to remember something as simple as my own son’s phone number or how long to microwave the breakfast I have been making every day for months!

How about you?  Steel trap or steel sieve?



Filed under aging

40 responses to “I Have a Mind Like a Steel Sieve

  1. Everybody experiences some of this. Maybe it’s all that new information going in that pushes some of the old out 🙂

    It has been proved that consistent aerobic exercise supports brain function. I hope you are doing that!

  2. Talk to me when you forget your own name (which I did in my 30s). Or your husband’s name, or your mother’s name. My family knows I have the world’s worst memory. Though my husband says it isn’t a bad memory, it is bad access to memory, because I can recall in detail moments of my past.

  3. OH man, can I relate!!!!!!!!!!!!! At least I am in my 50’s AND have hormone issues too. I can blame everything on hormones! 😉

    Hubby, he has a great memory sooooo.. oh well.

    Too funny Karen. I so relate to thinking about a post & then forgetting it!

  4. With every baby I lose some of my brain… I hear it’s scientifically proven, so that makes me feel a little bit better…

    Here from SITS! Love this post! 😀

  5. sunnydaze

    At 42 I’ve noticed a tiny bit of this happening to me. I’m not looking forward to menopause and it getting worse. Now I know how all those older women (when I was younger) would feel when they would yell of all of the names of their kids before they said the right one. LOL

  6. Mine is more like a sponge that somebody twists and squeezes out at the most inopportune moment.

  7. Kim

    Oh boy can I relate! I get worried sometimes that it is the start of early dementia but really it is just the simple forgetting things. I think being a mom with 2 kids and having to remember everything for them and hubby, there isn’t much room for anything else! Ha! I have called the kids the dogs names before too! Sigh.

    • Karen

      I feel especially bad because I used to be that mom who remembered it for us all. And I have not been so great letting a few things slip for my teen lately. Sigh.

  8. I’m in my 20s now so I have a pretty good memory- but being a biologist memory is very important!

    Though I use my calendar in my cell phone and I always have notes to myself- I am a list person though lol.

  9. I am pretty much like you! I have never been good at remembering peoples names, I remember their face and where we met but their name will escape me!

    I do take fish oil daily and I believe it helps with my memory. Also just being off the sugar lifts that brain fog I use to live with!

    Notes, lists and ideas jotted down on notepads are everywhere I go!

    • Karen

      I did not know that about fish oil. I have thought of taking it for other reasons. But I sure do hate swallowing pills. Ugh.

  10. I still have a great memory, but I am only 40 years old. But I do forget who I told what story to sometimes. It’s hard to remember all the people you tell a story to!

  11. I can tell you the calorie count and serving size of almost any food, what I wore on my first job interview, obscure quotes that inspired me, etc. But don’t ask me for my phone number or address. 🙂

  12. Wow. You just relieved some of my anxieties. I thought I was headed into early coo-coo ville. I seem to be forgetting a lot of stuff too. Silly little things and I have to say, it’s quite annoying.

  13. Let’s just say I’m not contemplating going on Jeopardy any time soon. I started noticing that I’d forget things (words or certain facts or names) when I turned 50. It really hasn’t gotten worse, but I miss my old sharp, instant-recall, Jeopardy champion potential, memory.

  14. You have just made me feel normal. Lists have become a normal part of life.

  15. I definitely can relate!! I have found that hormone replacement (specifically progesterone) helps…(as well with many other things too). I never used to have make lists…now I do. Then I forget the list!

  16. ohgoodness, there are just certain things my brain refuses to remember. names are probably the worst. i heard if you repeat the name back to them it helps, but yeah….not for me. 😛

  17. I can relate..totally! Last year I was losing it. I kept saying “oh I have it ALL up here..” pointing to my head. Then I was forgetting appointments and important dates. I finally started to make use of the calendar in my iphone and now write EVERYTHING down. I also am a big list maker. My computer is full of open “notepads” day to day. LOL

  18. I don’t have a bad memory (yet), but I do feel a lot stupider than I did in my teens and early twenties. I have trouble being in the moment, trouble focusing. I have grat difficulty coming up with words sometimes. I sometimes wonder if low blood sugar episodes kills brain cells (hardly a day goes by when I don’t get low blood sugar since becoming diabetic) or if this is just a part of aging.

  19. Ewa

    What was the question? 🙂
    I am over 50 so I blame it all on my hormones. Now if my memory does not improve after menopause, I will start to worry.

  20. It’s either senior moments or pregnancy brain.. and I am only 28 and not pregnant! But I too get spacey sometimes. The other day I put the laundry in the washer, put in the detergent, turned on the washer…but forgot to push Start. Husband had a good time with that one. 🙂

    • Karen

      Been there, done that. I actually had that on a whole long list in my post. I had been taking notes of all my memory lapses to put in here but I figured this post was already long enough:)

  21. I’d comment on your post but I’ve already forgotten what it was about. No, just kidding! Sort of. I too am starting to lose the memory. It’s a bit scary when it first starts happening…you’ll be talking and then the name of someone just won’t come to the lips! I still remember what keys are for, so that’s a good thing I guess. Old fogies definitely know better; we just have a harder time remembering what it is we know!

  22. lordy.
    my life is FILLED WITH “stop me if I told you this already” or “frick it’s on the tip of my tongue…”

  23. You are definitely not alone Karen. Sometimes I can’t remember a word I’m looking for. Yesterday I was on the phone with my mom and couldn’t remember the word “orchid”-and I was looking at my orchid at the time. Yikes, it’s kind of scary. I do like your idea of saying, “If I remember…” That one could get me out of doing some unpleasant things I actually do remember, a built in excuse. LOL!

  24. Amy

    Thank you. It helped to hear what your DR said. I know whta my keys are for. I blame my 4 pregancies. I have no brain. It is odd. I can remmber where things are and yet forgot I told you something yesterday.

    PS I love your blog and your comments on my blog, you are GREAT

  25. Twin,
    You are absolutely able to speak any amount of reason into my life that you’d like 🙂 I appreciate your honesty and straight forwardness. I’m pressing hard for the goal, but okay with whatever my best results in!!! By the way, I, too, have memory issues. What in the world? We are SOOO MUCH A LIKE!!!!! LOVE IT!

  26. Hi Karen – well apparently my mind is like a sieve because I know have to remind myself to visit and comment on favorite blogs like yours. Enjoyed this funny post and…wait, I forgot what I was going to say next. 🙂

  27. My family always says I remember everything, but the truth is I’m really GOOD with numbers, but terrible with conversations. It takes me like a whole week to remember to tell my hubby the entire conversation I had with people. Little dribs and drabs!

  28. Senior moments as they say, I have them.Not a comforting thing when you realize you have forgotten something and also feel you wouldnt have forgotten that same thing a few years ago. Write it down, use the smart phone to record it,etc., whatever helps is what we should do. No shame in being smart about using tricks to helps us along.

  29. I have the same problem and it’s frustrating because I can feel my brain struggling to remember. It feels so tired and mushy.

    I have to write things down and I use the calendar on my Outlook sadly way too much.

  30. Okay, Karen, I need to know exactly where I can get a light up pad for the side of the bed! I’ve needed one of those for years! And what’s with the best ideas coming in the shower? My husband wants to get me some kind of waterproof voice recorder to handle that!

    • Karen

      My husband can’t remember but I just googled and saw a couple options at Amazon. I used to just have light up pens but the pad is much brighter. Which I guess can be a good or a bad thing. I used it just last night:) Why do we have so many great ideas in the shower?!

  31. I will walk out of my office, get about 20 steps, then forget where I was going.

  32. At least I know it is genetic in my family and so I don’t worry about it being someting really bad like Alzheimers. My grandmother and then my mother had bad memories starting in their late 40’s and so have I and now my sisters.

    The worst is when I am in a conversation and a name or a place is just gone. Eventually it floats up from the depths, but it is so frustrating in the moment. It rarely happens when I am writing, though…

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