One morning last week. As usual I woke up to the alarm on my blackberry. Usually I hit “dismiss”, enter the phone’s pin, and let the messages download while I lie down for another 10 minutes. But that particular morning, when I was going to enter the phone’s pin, suddenly my memory failed me. I couldn’t remember the 4-digit number that I’ve been typing at least once a day, everyday, for several years.
I starred at the phone, trying to remember the 4 digit number. My memory blanked out on me. I gave it a try. Failed. I sat still and tried hard to remember. Another try, different numbers. Failed. It was getting scary, this feeling of helplessness – I couldn’t remember something that I use daily! I timidly gave another try (the same number as the first try, thinking that I might have mistyped the first time). And it failed again. The phone locked down and asked for PUK number.
I was stunned. I never had this experience before. I couldn’t help thinking “OMG I’m getting old – I’m having signs of dementia!” I couldn’t believe my memory failed to brought up a 4 digit number that I’ve been using every single day.
A few hours later the correct pin number surfaced by itself on my mind. But I had to go through the process of calling the call center, ask for the PUK number, and set up a new pin number anyway.
This experience gave me a glimpse of how someone with memory problem must’ve feel (alzheimer’s disease, etc). Frustrated. Scared. Helpless.
Lesson 1: don’t be too hard on someone who can’t remember (eg: parents). They’re feeling bad already for not being able to remember; and us blaming them aren’t helping anything.
Lesson 2: keep training the brain. Read books. Solve puzzles. Play sudoku. Write. Never stop learning. Engage the brain.