Mind is a Sieve

Last Friday, about a half hour before close of business, I looked at the calendar. I’d been writing the date all day, but finally the day sunk in … I had a bill due Saturday. Dang, what is it?  After a couple of minutes I remembered it was for some healthcare services, but then for the life of me I couldn’t remember if I’d paid it. I clearly remember fighting with member services, but did I drop it into the mail?

So I called, and I hadn’t mailed it. Fortunately for no additional cost, they took my credit card info, and I was paid in full before the due date.

Thank goodness I remembered!

When I first started working, my memory was my strongest skill. I could have a seemingly endless amount of facts at my immediate disposal. I never wrote things down, because I never needed it: I never forgot birthdays, there was no chance a bill would be late, and I would get everything done in order in advance of deadlines. I was a mental rockstar.

I remember the first time something slipped. I completely spaced on sending out birthday cards to employees one month. Hmmmmm … that is odd. So I wrote down in my calendar on the last day of each month to prepare the cards. And then I forgot about the incident, it being a one-off and all.

Until I forgot to send something a person had asked me for as I was walking through the cube farm. From then on, “Send me an email about it” was my answer to all such requests.

I remember a time in grad school when I was 30, where I was trying to commit some financial formulas to memory. They just wouldn’t take hold. I begged the universe to allow me to brain dump the Gilligan’s Island theme song to free up some room. My request was denied.


Slowly instant recall has become less and less “instant”, and for each proof of my faulty memory I would come up with a way of solving it. I’m so glad I love putting systems into place, because it definitely has made me seem a lot more organized than I feel at times. When bosses call me up with requests for information, instead of being able to immediately give the answer, my answer now is “One moment, let me check.” I often surprise myself by finding complete databases I don’t remember compiling, admittedly years ago. But the bosses are happy to have the information, and I’m grateful not to have to redo something I already completed (even if I have no recollection of it).

Growing up, I remember my Grandma emphasizing that everything needed to have a specific place so that way you didn’t need to remember where you put it last. At the time I humored her because remembering is so easy, but now I understand her completely!

Have you started to notice little things slipping? What are you doing to combat the effects? Do you now have the Gilligan’s Island theme song stuck in your head?

4 thoughts on “Mind is a Sieve”

  1. My main memory fail is that thing that happens when you walk into a room: ‘now…why did I need to come in here?’ I usually have to retrace my steps until I’m at the spot where I first had the idea that I needed to go into that room for some reason.

    Memory was one of the most interesting modules in my psychology degree. Did you know some well respected psychologists even think memory could be like an aura, actually reaching outside our skull? Which might explain why two people near each other suddenly have the same memory/thought/idea. I think that theory came through the discussions of the mind (as a thing that is different to the brain) and is it confined the the physical brain or is it more.

    Interesting reading how you compensate!


    1. I also suffer from, “Why did I come in here?” Normally for me the act of sitting down in my original place helps me remember it. I think I am simply too distracted by the bright shiny things that I see in the new room to remember!

      I had always wondered how people came up with the same idea at the same time. My mind wants to know how you would test that. Hmmmmmmm. Google, here I come!


  2. Oh…I can so relate to this. I sometimes forget where it is I put my glasses when I take them off…and then find that I’ve pushed them up on my head!!! Thanks for visiting us at Vision and Verb!


    1. I definitely feel your pain, Marcie. I once went looking for my glasses when I was wearing them!!!

      I loved your blog and look forward to stopping back by often.


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