Age and memory:
When I was little I had a memory like a steel trap. Ask me something and I could answer as fast as the snap of said steel trap.
My memory also seemed to include homing pigeon tendencies. For example, when I was little, maybe six or so, my parents took us to the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, California. If you have ever been to that fair you know how expansive the exhibit halls are. Mom, Dad, my four-year-old sister, my two-year-old brother, and I were going through one of the exhibit halls, I seem to remember it being vegetables. The rest of the family was too slow for me so I took off on my own, examining and digesting all the information on vegetables and farming in California. I remember being fascinated and I just kept on going. Meanwhile, my parents were frantically searching for their "lost" daughter. Maybe 15 minutes later, I walked right back to them, not knowing the concern I had caused.
What I call "the homing pigeon memory" has served me well over the years. If I have been somewhere in my life, I can, in most instances find my way back there, no matter how long it has been.
Another type of memory I have is called "having a touchstone in your brain," which allows me to remember an exact shade of a color. For example, if I'm sewing with a fabric of a particular color, I can go to a fabric store and pick out thread and a zipper that exactly match the fabric (without having the fabric there as a reference point). The closest I could come to finding a reference to this on the internet was in "The Free Dictionary" under "touchstone."
Not exactly the same thing, but close. Has anyone else ever heard of "having a touchstone in your brain"? I don't know where the person who told me that had heard it.
touchstone - a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated
As I've been aging, I also notice that I have a hard time remembering a word or where I put something. In reading articles, it seems this is a normal occurrence. Now if I can just remember where I put Bob. LOL.
Sleep and memory from my own experience:
I am a late-night owl, staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 am on nights I don't have to work the next day. On those days, I sleep in until 10:00 or 11:00 am and feel great. However, if I stay up too late on a night before I work, I notice a definite decrease in memory at work. Note to self: You MUST get more sleep on a night before a work day!
In addition to our memory, we have memories of family, friends, strangers, childhood, pets, places, events, travels, novels, movies, foods, smells, sights, and music.
I know a certain piece of music can transport me to a different time in my life. Mantovani music makes me think of our farm house in Newberg, Oregon. Mom and Dad loved listening to the Mantovani Orchestra.
The Beatles remind me of life from age 10 to 25. The song for our high school graduation was "Here Comes the Sun."
Other important music while I was growing up was dancing the twist, and listening to surf music, especially in surf movies like "Beach Blanket Bingo."
When I was 16, my sister and I saw The Hermans Hermits, Blues Magoos, and The Who playing in one concert at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. What a concert! The Hermans Hermits were the headliners, but The Who stole the show with their black capes with red spider webs and smashing their guitars on stage.
There are memories of family camping vacations during which I developed a love for travel and hiking that I have to this day. Memories of our children growing up and becoming the adults they are today come flooding back when I think of all the waterfall hikes we took, all the museums we visited, and car trips to visit faraway places.
We have family history and family stories both from our lives in our parents' homes, our lives as singles, and our lives as parents of our children. Many precious memories and a few memories of things we could have done better or changed.
Our brain is a big memory warehouse and we choose what to use, what to shelve and what to discard. Memory plays a big role in how we perceive ourselves, our life, and those around us.
I hope I never lose my memory.