Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's a Privilege

A few weeks ago I became concerned about my memory.  It used to be so, so sharp.  I could- and still very often do- vividly recall many memories.  All the way back to the tender age of three.  (Although my earliest memory is probably closer to age two.)  Names, birthdays, phone numbers, other peoples family members, an infinite supply of insignificant details, all of this stuff lives inside my head.  Don't ask me anything about high school math, but if you want to know my high school boyfriend's sister's middle name I can totally tell it to you (it's Louise- and, by the way, her birthday is June 13).  I'm sure that you feel richer for that knowledge.  You're welcome.

Names and faces are a big deal.  People so appreciate it when you remember them- especially if you didn't have much previous interaction with them, or if you haven't seem them in a while.  To be remembered is flattering.  I used to remember people like 95% of the time.  At least until recently.  It feels like my memory is slipping, fading, something.  It's a little frightening.  And then I think is it age?  Is this some kind of subtle side effect from the cancer, or from no longer having a thyroid?  Or is this all, as a friend assured me recently, I-now-have-a-second-child syndrome?  And, as the girl gets older, will my memory go back to the way it was?  Good God, I hope so.  I hate not feeling like myself.  Also, when you have a reputation for being good with names, people really take it quite personally when you don't remember them.  I mean, I don't take it personally when people don't remember me.  But then, my expectations aren't terribly high either.

Anyway.  Aging.  I hope that this isn't an early warning that I'm aging incredibly fast, or that I'm headed for early onset Alzheimer's, or something like that.  My grandmother was just diagnosed with early stage dementia, but she's 93.  Which, everything after 90 just seems like gravy to me.  I should be so lucky to live to be 93.  And to have one of my kids look after me the way my mom looks after her mother.  It makes all the difference.

Living to age 90 would be fantastic. That seems like a good, rich, long life.  The things that you would get to see in 90 years would just be amazing.  The world around you, to say nothing of your own family, and all of the changes that you would witness.  Incredible.  Whenever I feel like I'm getting old, losing my memory, looking old and tired, all the things that bother me about no longer being 30, I have to remind myself that aging is a privilege.  Last year, when I had cancer, there was a time when I was terrified that I wouldn't make it to 44 or 45.  A time when I would have given anything to make sure that I could be guaranteed to have those years.  And, honestly, I still would.  

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