Is it retirement or just old age? I need more time and have too much time. The weeks fly by, and the days go on forever. What’s that about? I also have a great memory, but not regarding the name of an author, actor, song title, or person, even if we just met. What’s that about?
A friend asked me this week, “What have you been doing?” Simple enough question, and even though my life seemed busy, my mind went blank, and I said, “Oh, I just get up in the morning and do it again. I have Lucy.” This is what they mean by short-term memory loss. It might take me a minute to answer a question, but I can immediately tell you the four letters of your personality type.
I’ve never had an excellent rote memory. Truth be known, back in the day, had they known what they know today, I would have been diagnosed with a learning disability and offered accommodation. I can’t blame my memory on age—I’ve never been good at remembering names, dates, or historical figures. I barely passed history in my undergraduate work—I couldn’t remember all those people and the years they did this or that, but I got A’s in statistics. What’s that about? I needed history in story form to care enough to remember.
I am good at watching, wondering, and figuring out what is underneath words and actions. I can watch, listen, and think.
What are you good at?
No matter our age, we all have faults or less-developed skills. We can focus on those or embrace our gifts and strengths. We can’t be good at everything. I’m logical, empathetic, creative, and a hard worker. How about you? We need to value our strengths and acknowledge our limitations. I won’t go down in history as a good cook. Oh, well, my kitchen’s clean.
There is value in accepting who we are and cutting ourselves some slack for what we aren’t. I have no trouble telling people, “I’m not good at remembering names.” My favorite social activity is when everyone has a name tag. I envy people who can recite names in regular conversations and those on Jeopardy who recall information immediately and turn it into a question. What’s that about?
I am me, and you are you.—no excuses or explanations are necessary. We are each unique. We are who we are. (Being ourselves does not excuse deceitful, mean, and immoral behavior.)
Mental wellness involves acceptance—accepting ourselves. Be authentic and notice how good it feels. When you think, “What’s that about?” The best answer is, “That’s just who I am.”
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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