• It started about a year ago, when I first noticed that words I wanted to use just wouldn’t come to me.  I knew the context in which I wanted to use them.  I knew the definition.  I just couldn’t think of the damn word.  I’ve never had a great memory, but this was frustrating.  It was also a little scary.  Was I getting the beginnings of Alzheimer’s?  But like everything else in life, I learned to cope.

    I’ll admit, that I was a latecomer when it came to using a smart phone. Although first in line to ditch my landline way back in 2000, the smart phone had no appeal to me.  I just wanted to be able to make a call.  Then I just wanted to text.  But I certainly had my computer for everything else.  A few years ago, when my cell phone died, I went to the store and actually used the following words to describe to the salesman what I wanted.

    “Can you just sell me the cheapest old lady phone?  I don’t need all the bells and whistles, I just want to be able to make calls and send a text now and then.”

    Seriously, I used the words, “sell me the cheapest old lady phone.”  As it happens, the cheap old lady phone was $35, not including service of course.  The previous years’ iphone, was 99 cents.  Being the frugal woman that I am, I took the iphone  home with me. Which brings me to the point of the story: how I learned to adapt.

    Now when that word just won’t come to me, I Google the thesaurus, and voila, success.  I learned to adapt.  In a crowd of people some of whom are acquaintances, and some of whom I’ve never met, I can’t always remember which is which.  Therefore, I use the following catch phrase:

    “Nice to see you.”

    This way, if I’ve already met them-no problem.  If I am meeting them for the first time – no problem.  I’ve learned to adapt. Introductions  can get a little trickier, but I’ve got an adaptation for that one too.  When introducing someone who’s name I simply cannot remember to someone I’ve known for a long time, I simply introduce my old friend by name to the other party.  Etiquette wise, it’s not exactly proper, but somehow, I’m vain enough that I’d rather look ignorant of formal manners than appear missing a few marbles.  I pick my battles, and vanity wins.  I’ve  learned to adapt.

    I even took a class once on remembering people’s names.  I know you’ve heard of these classes before.  They instruct you to remember a new name by a) repeating it upon first hearing it, and b) associating it with something else.  What the twenty something instructor didn’t say was how to remember the name long enough to repeat it, and how to remember the association!  But that twenty something instructor’s got nothin’ on me because me, well I’ve learned to adapt.

    I must say, I’m actually quite proud of myself for my preparations for the eventuality of hearing loss.  My dad just got his first hearing aids.  He was most concerned with either getting the tiny one that goes into your ear canal or at the very least, the kind that goes behind the ear in grey so that it blends in with his silver hair.  Not me, when I have to take the plunge I’m getting the biggest boldest blackest one I can find.  That way, when people see it, they’ll think I’m really hip because they’ll think it’s my blue tooth.  How many hip seniors do you know who can’t live without their blue tooth?  I’ve learned to adapt to that one, and I don’t even need it yet. Yea me!

    As for height shrinkage, I’ve just about covered that one too.  I’ve learned to sew, so hemming will be a cinch, and let’s face it, by the time I have to face being altitude challenged, there’ll be an Ap  for that.  I’ll learn to adapt.

    by: Leslie Handler

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    Article by: Leslie Handler

    Leslie is a freelance essayist for Newsworks of Philadelphia and a blogger for The Huffington Post. She has a Bachelor of Journalism degree and currently is living in Fairless Hills, PA with husband Marty, dogs Maggie and Hazel, a collection of fish, said husband's cockatoo whom she has been trying to roast for dinner for the last 28 years, and a few occasional uninvited guests.

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