You may know my sister. She is perfect. She never forgets a birthday or an anniversary and she can tell you what you were doing at this time 13 years ago. If you don’t know her, you may know someone like her. Look for the person who is walking around with a briefcase-like planner in addition to (not in) her fabulous bag. It is probably red and screams, “Look at me. I am organized and efficient and you are a hopeless mess who forgot to RSVP to my party.” I am a shameless third-party user of my sister’s planner. I will call her and ask when my good friend’s baby was born, what I sent as a gift and what I wore to the Christening. AND, she will put me on hold for about 10 to 15 seconds and then tell me. It is like she is a reverse psychic and often, it is just as eerie as an accurate fortune teller. As much as I rely on her ability to keep track of my life and manage my time, sometimes I want to steal that magic binder and hide it just to see what would happen. Evil I know, but it would be an interesting study in human behavior. She might actually lose it — I can’t even imagine. It would be the ultimate revenge for a little sister — not that I have anything to resent. Did I mention that she is perfect?
1. Write it down — A short pencil is better than a long memory. I write things down all the time — on napkins, the backs of receipts and mail that is on its way to recycling road. According to the elite organized, it is better to write it down in the same place every time and make sure that it is not disposable. One of my best purchases is the whiteboard calendar that you can hang on your wall. Of course, you have to remember to look at it every day which I am working on — baby steps.
2. Focus — If you can’t remember names and faces, try harder. It works. If you pay attention when you are learning something new, you will be more likely to recall it. This speaks to living in the moment. It will not only make you happier, it will make you smarter!
3. Have a routine — When there is something you forget or misplace repeatedly, have a system. Put your car keys in the same place every time. Keep your receipts in a ziploc bag in a drawer until the holidays are over. After many frustrating and costly times in a parking garage, I now put the retrieval slip in the same spot in my wallet each time. Be proactive about your mental shortcomings — studies show that they are only getting worse.
4. Gingko biloba is known as the “brain herb”. There is evidence that it is useful for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The evidence is not as good for general memory problems. If you can remember to take it, the usual dose is 120 mg twice a day. Side effects are rare but if you are on other medications, especially blood thinners or heart meds, discuss taking it with your doctor.
5. Keep your mind active — You have heard the expression, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” The same is true for your memory. Keep it sharp by challenging your mind and exercising your neurons. It is never too late to learn something new. When Michelangelo was 85, he said, “I am still learning.” I am going to take my own advice and look up who this Michelangelo guy is.
Have a great weekend! I was a big puddle of fat, hungover, depression early this week. My husband kept calling to make sure I wasn’t doing anything crazy. Then, I played some Christmas carols, wrapped some presents, put on a red sweater, made some egg nog and now I feel much, much better. Take a couple days off from the madness. Listen to “Angels Among Us” by Alabama, watch “It’s a Wonderful Life“, drink some mulled wine and hug the ones you love. There will still be 19 days to stress, get wrapping paper cuts and yell at your family.
Next week: Emergency preparedness. (Just in case the paper cut won’t stop bleeding or someone gets in your way at the mall.