There is nothing more frustrating, and depressing, than being unable to locate an item that I'm sure is in the house somewhere. Losing your keys, which people often complain about, is a minor issue on the down slide of memory loss, for they will be found wherever you left them when you last came in the door. Simple, think what you were doing and what you were wearing and...behold...the lost keys are lost no more, found in the pocket of the jacket worn to the grocery store.
People like me, those with more of their life behind them than ahead, worry about memory loss. There's the safety issue; like leaving the stove on...a major fire hazard and thank goodness for those mandatory smoke alarms; running water in the tub then getting waylaid with a phone call and wondering why the hall carpet is so wet. We've all had experiences like that.
I've found one system that works for me...the list. The problem is you have to remember where your list is, and if it's for shopping, you have to remember to take it with you. I have a metal door and I put a fridge magnet right above the door lock. When I start a list I post it on the door, and add to it as necessary. Sometimes the list is for things I need to give to one of the kids, or to take to their place. It's right in my face when I'm ready to leave so I have no excuse for forgetting anything.
I also use the magnets for the purpose for which they were intended, to collect junk on my refrigerator door. I have phone numbers, recent ones as I forget, and yet I remember the one from my teens when I lived in Toronto. I wonder who might have that number now; maybe I should call it, just for fun and see. Sorry, I digress, good thing I don't have the tub running. Also on my fridge are the to do items, calls I need to make, pictures of possible hair styles for my next cut, a possible new décor for the bedroom, a recipe I want to try. You know…the important stuff.
I just took a moment to look up a word in the dictionary. Refrigerator. I had spelled it refrigerator, and used the term fridge, for short. It didn't look right, hence the dictionary. Now here's a question, why is fridge, which is short for refrigerator, spelled with a 'd' and refrigerator is not? See how easy it is for the mind to be led astray. Maybe I have ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I go along with the attention deficit but believe me, I just got up from my afternoon nap and there's nothing hyperactive about me.
Last month I lost something and I was frustrated no end in my search, only to come up empty handed. Being of a creative mind I love to get books and magazines from the library, my way of stimulating those creative juices. I have a routine for when I go to the library, a book bag that is used for nothing but the library, with a large side pocket. In that side pocket I keep my library card and the printout of what books I have taken out. At home the bag sits by my chair in the living room and the books stay in the bag.
When I took my load of books and magazines back to the library one day last month I was missing a magazine. No way... this can't happen, I have a system. It had to be the library's fault. They, obviously, and rightly so, thought it was my fault. They allowed me to renew the magazine, giving me the opportunity to find it and return it without a fine. They only allowed me to do this once and then I had to face up to the fact that my no-fail system, failed. A magazine that was six months old and cost
about $3.50 new, cost me eight dollars to replace.
I took it on the chin, not only does my memory fail me at times but so did my beat-the memory-loss system. So I paid the fine, but the frustration never went away. I live in a one bedroom apartment and even though I have it crammed full of books, magazines and craft supplies there are only so many places the magazine could hide. I pretended to do some spring cleaning and looked in places I hadn't seen in awhile, but only after all the more likely hiding spots were ruled out. No magazine.
There was only one conclusion to make. If I didn't have the magazine, and the library didn't have the magazine, then I must have given it to someone to read. There must have been something in that magazine worthy of the risk of my forgetting who I gave it to. I have come to rely on the memory of others but that's not always reliable either.
Maybe there was an article to do with parenting and I loaned it to my daughter. She was very definite, when questioned, that I had not given her the magazine. I basically knew this was true because if the article is good, I usually photocopy it for her so she can read it at her leisure and would have it to refer back to. I know how busy she is with a full time job and three kids and leisure time is not something she has a lot of.
My other thought, was there an article that would interest my friend and neighbour? She does have leisure time and likes to read so I would be more likely to give her the magazine. My friend has a few years on me and understands the memory issues we face. She didn't deny I might have given her the magazine, but she was very definite that she didn't have it. Her place is one bedroom bigger than mine and she did a search of likely places and came up empty.
For the last month I have been more cautious when I bring books home, check the printout to make sure I have everything, and always double check with the librarian that all items have been returned.
Today, almost one month to the day that I paid the fine, the magazine was found. My neighbour, that very same neighbour who had denied having the magazine, brought it back to me. It had gotten lost in a pile of magazines and papers and overlooked in her search. I'll take it back to the library tomorrow and get my money back as they told me to keep the receipt in case I found it.
I am vindicated, my system did not fail me...my neighbour's system may need a bit of work, but my system held. This has been a small victory in the battle of shrinking brain cells and memory lapses. It's too bad the magnet and memo on the door don't work for everything, like when I boiled the pot dry the other night.
I'll have to think of some new system for that, and when I do I'll share it with my friend.