Younger people — even people just a little bit younger, like maybe 10 years — do not understand the whole “forgetting” issue. They think memory is linked to dementia, but that’s not the same as the standard “everything vanishes in 15 seconds” kind of forgetting that overtakes us as we pass into our 70s.

I don’t forget anything forever. I don’t forget everything ever. I forget bits and pieces of things. Dates. Titles. Phone numbers. If it’s really important, I will remember it — or at least remember to look at the calendar where I no doubt wrote it down.

I forget words, then remember them a few minutes later. I forget television shows and who starred in them. I forget the author of the books I read when I was younger. I have forgotten a lot of things that happened when I was younger, probably because none of them were all that important. Turns out, 60 years later, a lot of what seemed terribly significant wasn’t.

Bits of information that once would have found a nesting place in my brain, disappear. My theory is that if it was that important, I would have written it down. Like on my Google calendar or the whiteboard on the refrigerator. When I was working, I had a head full of information. I remembered it. Accurately, too.

I can’t imagine how I remembered so many things. I couldn’t do it now. More to the point, I wouldn’t want to do it now.

Garry is older than me, so we forget stuff together.

Tonight was a good one. I turned on the oven, but I never heard the beep that tells me it reached temperature. I used to easily hear the beep. Now, I can only hear it if there’s no other noise.

There’s always noise, at least a bit. An audiobook, the television, or a computer. Dogs. Telephones. Air conditioners. Fans. Or the slight roar of the microwave.

Today, I was sure I had put that meatloaf in the oven. I figured it was probably done so I should go cook the potatoes.

Except for the oven, which was warm, it was empty. I was positive I’d put the meatloaf in there. Positive. Well, maybe not so positive because I couldn’t remember the oven beeping. If I never heard the oven, then why — when? — would I have put the meatloaf in to cook? Oops.

Our oven, after I failed to show up to tell it to really cook, eventually turned itself off. I love timers. I don’t know how I’d survive without timers. I think I used to burn a lot of meals.

Why do we forget?

First, I think we don’t need to remember the way we did when we were working. Second, we don’t really care as much about keeping everything on schedule. If we don’t go shopping when we planned on Tuesday, we’ll go on Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or when we finally run out of something we absolutely need. If it isn’t a doctor we need to see or a date to meet friends for lunch, it’s not all that important. Most of my bills are paid automatically and the ones that need monthly updating show up in an email to remind me.

Most of life is on automatic or semi-automatic and that is fine. I’m delighted I don’t have the stress of constant things to do and schedules to meet.

Right now, there are indeed a lot of things to do. I’m trying to gear up what’s left of my memory to do what needs doing. It’s only for a few months. After that, I’m going to forget everything.

Life is easier that way.

One of my favorite lines is “I’ll remember it in the morning.”

But I won’t remember it in the morning. I might not remember it in 15 minutes. Or five. It’s possible I’ve already forgotten it.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

38 thoughts on “FORGETTING EVERYTHING IN A HURRY – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Today I drove out to a great little restaurant out in the country a bit with two friends. On the way back, two of us were trying to remember the name of the Woodstock Festival. Can you believe that neither of us could remember it? When I was telling a story about it, I had called it Watergate! I caught that but even three hours later, I could not think of Woodstock. Finally, I asked Forgottenman and he admitted it took him a minute or so to remember. So scary, but we stand united.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forget the important word in the sentence in the middle of the sentence. Tom says he goes into the kitchen and won’t leave until he remembers why he went there. Eventually, he gives up which inevitably means he remembers when he gets back to the living room. It’s weird the way information slips away, then drops back in later. If it didn’t happen to everyone, I’d be really worried. The good part? I forget what I’m worried about. I really do.


      1. They say going through a door makes the difference. Somehow the brain skips a cog. Going back out that door helps you to remember. Don’t know what my excuse was driving in the car.. or what it was in the post I’m about to post.


        1. I write everything the minute I think about it. If I don’t have time or energy to write the whole post, then at least a few key lines to wake my brain up later. Otherwise, it’ll be gone in 15 minutes. Possibly sooner.


          1. I forget my own posts within minutes of having written them. When people comment on posts I have to go back and reread them to know what they are alluding to!


      1. If you look at my today’s post “Rejuvenation,” there is a link to his blog. We met on OK Cupid eight years ago and have had a long history since then. He’s my blog editor, friend, sweetie, critic, advisor, frequent communicator via Skype. Sort of my significant other 1500 miles away. He’s visited Mexico several times and I usually visit him in Missouri once a year for a month. His blog is a riot but he posts rarely and promotes himself not a bit. We’ve done a number of back and forth blogs and challenges. A fun mindmate and soulmate if not housemate. He loves this incredibly ugly photo I took of him years ago that illustrates my today’s rejuvenation post. Pictured elsewhere on my bog, he’s a very good looking man, but he prefers to be seen as funny, I think, judging by the fact that he has encouraged me several times to use this photo in my blog. A vainer soul, I ask him not to do the same with my worst photos.


        1. Garry’s also very picky about his pictures. There are pictures I like and he doesn’t. I give up and delete them.

          I think some people just think they really look funny and decide that’s the way for them to go. Why they feel that way is a whole other subject. But I have known some very attractive people who didn’t like being pretty but didn’t mind looking funny. There’s always a story in there, somewhere. You may never hear the story, but there’s a reason. Not necessarily a bad reason, but something.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. At one point in my career, I found it necessary to train myself not to remember details. I took a daily walk across campus with checks for student loans, sometimes in large quantities. Frequently students would stop me to ask if their check had come in from the bank. I didn’t want to give out false information — it was better to ask them to check in my office or in the Cashier’s Office later in the day. It was easier to forget the names of the students whose checks had come in — I could truly say that I didn’t remember, and they should check later. I now find that I frequently do not remember facts in that level of detail!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to be able to remember all the phone numbers of everyone I knew. Of course, that was when we all called each other. Still, I frequently forget my OWN number. I mean, it’s not like I call it very often.

      I could not do the work I did. It called for huge amounts of detailed memory and I really can’t do it now. I would have to write all of it down and I’d never get anything done.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Speaking of phone numbers, I can recall all the phone numbers we had during the years, but now with automatic dial I can’t remember a lot of numbers that I should know. I just press dial and 1,2, 3,or 4 etc. So much of our lives are on automatic that we really don’t have to recall a lot of things. Memory is like a muscle that diminishes if you don’t use it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We live in parallel worlds. I have really now got used to noting a lot on my mobile in notes under various headings. Even if I meet someone I note their names afterwards, because names are my biggest forget. Thank goodness for Internet where I can insert a scrap of information that remains, and the computer fills me in on everything I forgot. And there is nothing worse than cooking dinner, opening the fridge and realizing you forgot to buy the meat, although thank goodness it only happened once so far. I know why my phone is synchronized with Mr. Swiss phone for the shopping list. What I forget he remembers and vice versa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Google. God bless it! If I can remember ANYTHING, Google remembers the rest for me. Like the name of the guy who had the show with that dog who used to be on that show that was set in Boston and then he had another show about a shrink? Name? Does Garry remember? Of course not. But Google does.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My brother in law (he is 70) has a code word with his wife when they forget something- they say “brisket” they use the word instead of whatever word is meant to be used. Later, when he remembers he yells “brisket” with the correct word. Makes for a lot of use of the word brisket 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry about typos. I am now using three different spell and text checkers in the hope that I have fewer errors. I think it’s probably helping. Not entirely — there are ALWAYS a few typos in everything, but at least FEWER.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I think once you get a certain amount of information stuffed into your head, the brain just starts losing track of where it stored those bits of memory and gets lost or misdirected trying to find it. It seems so logical, it’s probably not true at all…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Squirrel, during my working years, I could stuff all kinds of stuff into my memory — spit them out with assurance on the 6 o’clock news — and immediately forget everything. These days? Quien sabe?


  6. “But I won’t remember it in the morning. I might not remember it in 15 minutes. Or five. It’s possible I’ve already forgotten it.”

    Um, why am I posting this comment? I can’t remember.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I periodically get likes on posts I wrote a while back and draw a complete blank on what I wrote about, so I have to go back and reread the post to find out. And I’ve only been at this for 13 months!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. There is a school of thought that abides by tricks or games that keep one’s memory sharp. Simple things like ‘concentration’ – a card game where you have to match all the pairs up after having placed the deck face down across a table or whatever. My mother played this kind of game with her children all the time. She encouraged doing crosswords and mind puzzles too. But I don’t know if, in today’s world, that’s such a great gift – memory. There’s not much WORTH remembering IMHO. I wouldn’t sweat it. It comes to all of us…I think? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think writing helps. I think keeping mentally busy helps. I think part of the problem older people had before us was boredom. It’s a lot harder to get bored these days. And I still manage to forget lots of stuff, especially if I don’t want to remember it.


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