Claire Went There

And wound up here

This is Your Brain on 49

I stood at the top of the driveway with Coach, smiling and waving to the second of two couples we were having over for dinner. “Ah shit,” I hissed to him, “what are their names?”  But he didn’t know. The name-remembering and holiday-making and gift-purchasing duties had all been handed over to me many years ago. “Are you kidding?” he hissed back, “how am I supposed to know?”  So, under intense pressure, I simultaneously learned the art of forcing people to introduce themselves and felt certain I was losing my mind.

Oh sure, these senior moments or brain farts or whatever you want to call them are normal. They can happen to anyone, even if you’re 23 and totally sober. Pregnancy makes you dumb, having little kids makes you dumber, and being anywhere over 45 makes you dumber still but in a way that makes others look at you sideways with tiny arched brows.

Add a healthy chunk of nutso to your gene pool, however, and suddenly forgetting your first-born’s name or why you just sprinted upstairs or grabbed a hammer is cause for a multitude of reactions, ranging from fatalistic acceptance to panic-induced wailing.  I’ve screwed up so many things just by being scatter-brained and forgetful and just plain uninterested, that any of my new “moments” are not that noticeable to anyone but me. ..I don’t think.  However, now I know for sure that my mother had some kind of early-onset and extremely aggressive dementia, I am taking extra note of these moments, but in a much more clinical way.


My closest loved ones are not to be trusted in this matter. They don’t know anything and have been laughing and pointing at me for decades! I have a lifetime of people trying to classify or label my way of thinking, patting me on the head, reading me my rights, asking “what-the-hell-are-you-doing?” and “what exactly is your plan?” to believe that they will know when I truly turn the corner to something that can’t be fixed.

So I have developed my own method to determine if my senior-moments are just by-products of my deep inability to pay attention, or if they are indeed signs of my imminent decline. It’s pretty simple actually:  if I know I’m forgetting something, or using a word that isn’t correct but starts with the same letter, or looking for the phone that’s in my hand, then I’m not falling apart. That’s how my method works…if I can use it, I’m not crazy. It’s a beautiful system so don’t point out any of its flaws.

My next plan is to use all of the available Save Your Brain! apps, but only the ones that don’t involve math or geometry, because really…my brain didn’t need it then and sure doesn’t need it now. Then I will drink more tea, sleep more, laugh more, get on my yoga mat, and avoid situations where everyone doesn’t already know each other, and all reality TV.

I know we all have our DNA boogeyman – cancer, heart disease, dementia.  I just found out who my personal boogeyman is and I don’t like him. But I figure as long as I remember what I’m fighting against, that means I’m still here, not there. And I really, really want to be here.

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8 thoughts on “This is Your Brain on 49

  1. Clover on said:

    You are Claire….we accept you as Claire. I know it’s been a long time since we hung out but you seem pretty normal! Should I be scared that you seem normal? The “duh” that is happening in our late 40’s is scary!!! Hang in there….you have a fan base!

  2. Clover on said:

    Don’t know why I came up as “Clover” but it is Gwen! Keep taking care of yourself! 🙂

  3. Fifty. Fifty. Fifty! on said:

    Bold writing.

  4. Maryann Lozano on said:

    The usage of the wrong word, right letter or not, is one of my many challenges lately and my kids think it’s hysterical. They won’t think it’s so funny when they’re feeding me strained peas though.

    • Nancy Mann on said:

      I just found Claire’s blog this morning. Maryann, you cracked me up! I know what I’m telling my children the next time they laugh at me. “Strained peas!” – it’s my new battle cry. At least as long as I can remember it.

      Claire, I am really enjoying your blog. You have a gift.

  5. So just this morning I emptied out a cabinet in the kitchen because I couldn’t find the berry colander. Once every pot was in the floor, I looked up and there was the missing colander, on the counter top. I had already taken it out and forgot I had done it. Also, I just now had to double-check that I had spelled “colander” correctly. If you are going then I am probably going with you.

  6. donnasgotta on said:

    OK, I think already replied to this but I forgot. Anyway, if I’m repeating myself then I apologize. This morning I emptied out an entire kitchen cabinet looking for the berry colander. Once every pot and pan was in the kitchen floor I looked up and, lo, the damn thing was right there on the counter top, where I left it, but forgot. Also I had to double-check that I spelled “colander” correctly. Why isn’t it with two “l’s”? I forgot that, too.

  7. I often find myself standing a room’s center, looking in each direction as the sound in my brain is WTBS circa 1979, after 2am. I prefer to not recognize this as a symptom of early onset anything, but instead credit it as the statistical certainty of a high achiever. You see, when one is as uber-successful as we are, at so very many things, it is an absolute given that while hitting on so many cylinders something will occasionally slip through the doing filter.

    Oh, and I do like the idea of having a genetic boogey-man. Mine is heart disease, so I tell my family that I must drink red wine alongside avoiding high-blood pressure inducing situations and excessive stress. As they now this, I believe they are trying to kill me, making it look like “natural causes”, to collect the insurance and have my jewelry. Little bastards.

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