I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes searching for my reporter’s notebook. It’s not the first time this has happened – my keys, cell phone and coffee cups occasionally get lost, too. That’s when I panic and fear that it might reflect some withering brain cells. (In my defense, caring for a mother-in-law with dementia might make me a bit more paranoid than the average person.)
However, a growing body of research indicates forgetting stuff can actually be a by-product of rigorous thinking, smooth decision-making or heightened creativity. Forgetting can help us block out useless or outdated information and it can be driven by the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region linked to memory.
It’s a relief to know that my forgetfulness isn’t part of the extensive memory loss linked to dementia or similar health problems. But just to be sure that I don’t miss any deadlines, or draw a mental blank during my next presentation, I’m going to make a few lists.
Now, if I can just find my pen…
Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers. She’s currently writing a sequel.