January 10, 2023


At work I manage a team of nine software ware developers scattered across the country. They’re all really good at their job and in addition to my management responsibilities, I am also a full time software developer. Luckily my team is good at being autonomous and are all trustworthy, so I just have to keep things moving in the right direction, assure they have what they need to do their jobs well, and speak to upper management on behalf of the team. I’ve had much worse gigs in my life.

I used to be able to manage all of this stuff in my head, keeping track of the status of various projects and the like, and then able to recite the status without referencing notes. My brain chemistry provides surprisingly robust memory powers, but unfortunately, it’s more geared to things I’m very interested in, I’ve witnessed or experienced, or how I felt during a recalled situation. I can remember project dates and statuses fairly well but the details seem to fall out of my cranial rolodex with some regularity. I know my husband gets frustrated when I ask for the same details of an upcoming event over and over again. I attribute this all to growing old because after all I am in my mid 50s.

I still can’t believe I’m in my mid 50s, but that’s a whole different subject.

The reduction of memory bandwidth in my head frustrates me from time to time as well and admittedly it worries me at times. Even though Earl is eight years older than me, I’m convinced I’m going to lose my marbles before he does. Forgetting things along the way just reiterates this belief for me and that doesn’t help the situation.

I’ve taken to writing things down, when I remember to write things down, and it seems to be helping but with all the notes we were forced to take in junior and senior high school and college, I don’t seem to have developed a great skill set when it comes to note taking. I’ll write down a few sentences on a given subject during a work meeting and an hour later I have no idea what I meant. I end up focusing really hard on how I felt and some other obscure detail during the meeting, for example, “Matt was wearing a green flannel shirt when he said this” and then I can occasionally remember the details around the paragraph I wrote down. I need to get better at note taking.

The solution to all of this is probably realizing that as I get older I can’t go as fast as I used to with writing down notes and paying attention and all that stuff. Slowing down a little bit seems a little contrary to the way I’ve done things for over a half a century but it’s a reality I just have to accept.

If I remember to.