I'm a list maker. At least I used to be. Well, that's not exactly true. I used to be obsessed with list making, but not so much anymore. Grocery list? Yes. I still require that. But general lists are not as important these days.
I wrote lists primarily to remember things. Then someone told me that I should just trust that "if it's important, you'll remember it." They encouraged me to "put aside" my lists and find peace in knowing that it's okay to forget some things.
Perhaps I also wrote lists due to the fear of forgetting. I made the mistake of borrowing the movie Still Alice from the public library. Yes, Julianne Moore won the Oscar for her role, and yes, Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 89% rating, but it was a hard film to watch. Why? Because Alice, the main character, starts to forget words. Watching this happen is painful. I get that the diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease is a reality, but I simply don't ever want to forget things.
No, I don't have dementia. But my grandmother did, and my dad suffered from some moderate Parkinson's Dementia. But that's not why I make lists. I just don't want to forget certain things that seem important in my life.
According to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago, we wouldn't be able to learn new information if we didn't forget some things. What the what?! Ben Storm, one of the researchers, is quoted in the article Why Forgetting Is Good For Your Memory:
"Memory is difficult. Thinking is difficult. (Memories) could completely overrun our life and make it impossible to learn and retrieve new things if they were left alone, and could just overpower the rest of memory. In addition, people who are able to forget unnecessary information also seem to be good at problem solving and remembering important things (even when they're distracted)."
Forgetting unnecessary information. I think that might be my problem. In his research Ben goes on to say:
"Forgetting is a surprising and unintended consequence of remembering."
I realize that he is mostly talking about forgetting things behind us, from the past, and I totally get that. But what about that "thing" I'm supposed to do later with that "person" from "somewhere" that made "plans" to get together?
HuffPost blogger and clinical psychologist Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D. says:
"...if you get anxious about something you need to remember you are only getting in your own way. Relax!"
Easy for you to say. Think I'll go make a list.