Is your Memory Failing you?



Article by Wendy McCance

When I was little, I remember laying on the ground and staring up at the clouds.  I lived in Kansas and was 4 or 5 at the time.  I used to love laying on the ground in our front yard staring up at the incredibly blue Kansas sky.  I would make up stories about the clouds I saw, turning them into magical flowers, a woman in a fancy dress or a simple smiley face.

I remember staring up at the sky one day and deciding that I would remember ever detail of my life.  I was frustrated because I would remind my mom of different things that happened in our lives, and she would have no idea what I was talking about.  She would simply say, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t remember.”  I would be dumbfounded.  How could she not remember these moments that seemed so important, at least to a 4 or 5-year-old?

So, there I was, staring up at the sky when I decided that I would remember everything that happened in my life.  I didn’t want to end up like my mom who blamed old age on her fading memories.

I decided I should practice remembering each memory so that I wouldn’t forget.  For the next few days, I would think about my memories while I was getting dressed for the day, or while I was riding in the car or when I was in bed at night before I fell asleep.

I would start at my earliest memory and work my way through each year remembering all I could.  At 4 or 5, I had moments where I was frustrated because I couldn’t remember everything and panicked that I had waited too long practicing what I knew.  I was sad that I didn’t remember more.

I drove my mom crazy going over all the things I knew.  I would repeat all of my memories as often as I could.  I would be sitting at the table for a meal and I would just begin to list off everything I knew.  Sometimes I would come flying into the house from playing because I was excited.  I had remembered something new and needed to tell my mom what it was.

Now I am in my 40′s.  My memory is awful.  My family gets annoyed with me because I remember so little.  I have actually had my kids tell me that they were scared that I was going to have Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia because of how bad my memory is.

The crazy thing is that my strongest memories are of when I was really young.  I even have memories from when I was still in a crib playing with an activity toy that was connected to the side of my crib.

My memory started falling apart in my late 20′s.  I gradually forgot most of my school experiences starting about high school.  I also have very few memories of my children when they were young.  I am fortunate in that I have piles of photos and I wrote detailed baby books for each child.  Cute sayings, accomplishments and special moments are written down and I’m grateful for that.

So, I’m curious, what is your memory like?  My kids tease me because I do crosswords or sudoku’s daily.  I am desperate to keep my mind sharp as I age.  What do you do to keep your mind sharp?  Is this even a concern for you, or are you one of the lucky people who have a memory that is sharp as a tack?

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

27 thoughts on “Is your Memory Failing you?

  1. My icon is apparently on vacation, but YES… my memory is giving me fits… I can’t live with lists and calendars where I write everything down… LOL I’m a visual learner so I remember picture of places or memories, but name? you can forget it…. I have enough trouble with just regular words.. LOL :D

  2. I have found my memory isn’t what it used to be. I’ve run into people I should remember from high school and they know me but I have no idea who they are, sometimes I recall when they tell me their name, but not always. What drives my kids crazy is that I will mix up names now. I don’t see my one son and his family often so I blame it on that, but it does worry me and I try to keep working on my memory with games (Sudoku etc) because at the same time I know there is a history of Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and even dementia that runs in my family. I tell people I can live with losing just about anything just not my eyesight or my mind.:-)

    • I wish I could control my memory so I could remember the important moments. Part of the reason I started the appreciation journal was so that I would remember the good stuff. :(

  3. My memory is as sharp as a……………….what was I saying I forget………….oh yeah my sharp memory well it’s as sharp and a blunt pencil…………how cool is that…………oh yeah a blunt pencil isn’t sharp at all oh well good thing I have my looks……………….oh yeah I am a short fat middle aged woman so I don’t have my looks either, I could say I have money but that would be a lie so I won’t say that so what do I have…………A GOOD HEART………….is that good enough………

  4. I’m working on this all the time. I want to be sharp too. Reading is a great way to help. Games and downtime, and writing. The funny thing is I lead into my latest post with some ideas about how our memory works partly because of a video I watched. Check it out.

  5. uhmmm…what was I going to say?? I’ll try again tomorrow. Seriously though. I notice a difference too, as do the kids and grandchildren. I just hope they let me ramble as I get worse. I like the little world I am creating.

  6. I can relate to what you say. My son is a teenager and he will say “remember mom” and I don’t or he has to tell me more about the memory he is referring to before I can remember it. I do Word Search and I try to remember certain things about yesterday, who I talked to, what I did throughout the day just to test myself. My parents had great memory recall. My mom remember what she wore to a certain dinner. Unfortunately I did not inherit that great memory.

  7. I have a memory like an elephant (for certain things). Names, weather and dates particularly. I end up shocking my family still with the things I remember. They may tell a story and I will be able to state the weather of that day. Or the name of the nurse they had 10 years ago for that 3 hour window. Much like you did, I do get frustrated when they do not remember the intricate details like I do. “What do you mean you don’t remember January 21, 2009 and the horrible snow storm we had and you signed me out of school and I went to the mall with my friends?”

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