They say you lose the nouns first. That when you reach for the name of something, something innocent, like a whisk or nail clippers or a cantaloupe, and suddenly it isn’t there. No need to panic, you know it’s in there somewhere, but just for the moment, you had a little blank. Funny.
Maybe you’re watching a show with your husband and suddenly the name of the lead actor, someone you like and have known for years, is just gone, and you have to go through six degrees of the IMDB to find it – remember, he was in that thing with that girl with the red hair, and she was in that Batman movie with the joker, the one directed by that guy who did Inception. And when you read it, of course, it was right there all along, of course, of course.
“Go downstairs and get me that thingy,” I’ll say to the kids, and they’ll say, “What thingy?” and I’ll say, “You know, the thing with the black base and the buttons and the glass top part and you use it to make milkshakes,” and they’ll say, “The blender?” and I’ll say, “Yes, yes, the blender, of course I meant the blender.”
It’s been happening a lot lately. I’m only 45, still young, still lots of time to chase dreams and think about someday goals. But the words sometimes slip away, mostly in the evening when I’m tired, sometimes now happening in the late afternoon, too. A few months back I was at a store and something was on sale, but sold out, and I felt like an idiot telling the young salesgirl that I wanted, “You know, one of those coupon like things that you give when something is on sale, but you don’t have any left, and you can get one later?” and she was all, “A raincheck?” and I exclaimed, “Yes! A raincheck!” grateful she had put me out of my misery.
I sometimes feel a little panic – is this the start of something new? Early dementia? But a few of my friends have reported the same thing, the same slips. Just a little blank moment, how silly. Nothing to worry about, perfectly normal. So I’m very deliberately not worrying, not fretting, just carrying on carrying on.
Aging is a funny thing – you never think it will happen to you. But I feel it creeping around the edges, in my knees, in the fresh lines on my face, in the occasional hot flash. I’m not afraid to get old, just afraid there won’t be enough time to do it all, to see it all, to say it all. Especially before I lose the nouns for good.