Mum used to say, probably quoting someone else, that when we get older we just get "more so." People who had a positive outlook on life when they were young become even more cheerful as they age, those who were surly to start with get bitter, the selfish increasingly suck the whole world into themselves.
She had friends in their eighties (octo-geraniums, she called them) she hadn't heard from in a long time. When she called and asked what they were doing these days the wife said vaguely, "Oh, we look for things."
Increasingly forgetful. That was Mum, that's my brother Tim (8 years older than I), and that's getting to be me. I think part of it is that things of this world, material things, are becoming less and less relevant to us. Maybe I always was scatter-brained (that's multi-tasking on overload) but now I'm more so. You know how it goes. I go downstairs and wander around awhile. Then I'll dial Intercom 2 on the landline and ask, "Jerry, where's--whatever it is I'm looking for?"
In my case, I know the reason it happens. It's because I walk out from under my thought. I go downstairs and the thought doesn't come with me. If I go back to where I first had the thought, there it is and we can reconnect. It helps to announce aloud when I start downstairs what it is I'm going down for. That tells it who's boss.
My brother Tim quotes a Harvard ichthyologist who complained that every time he learned the name of a student he forgot the name of a fish. Tim is studying Hebrew and he can't afford to remember anything else. In the 1960s he started smoking pot and after a decade or two I pointed out that marijuana destroys brain cells. He said grandly, "I have so many I can afford to lose a few." But where are they now that he needs them? We host a family movie theater once a week and when it's over, Jerry and I have to routinely remind Tim to remember his hat, his jacket, his bag, etc.
I'll help Jerry remind Tim of these things but Jerry has to remind me to take my pills, be on time for appointments, and keep my twice-weekly prayer dates over the phone with Janet and Sandra.
So far Jerry is keeping it together for all of us. I hope his memory stays sound. I hope he doesn't start getting like the rest of us.
Today I am thankful for postal workers.