What does the “what-cheer, what-cheer” song of a northern Cardinal,
an ultra light scooting across the sky,
a fluffy dog-shaped cloud,
and a Little Free Library have in common?
Nothing, really, other than being some of the items I stored together in a “memory chain” in an ongoing quest to challenge my brain.
While visiting my daughter at her new home in Michigan this summer, I was out walking around her neighborhood one evening. I felt grateful for the ability to walk briskly and at the same time, listen to or observe all the sights and sounds nearby. This isn’t something I take for granted, after watching both of my parents lose these abilities when dementia slowly stripped them of their identities.
Along the walk that evening, I found myself thinking, “Oh, I should tell my daughter I found a Little Free Library not too far from her house.” It was then that I had an idea to form a memory chain in my mind, compiling interesting observances seen along the way. In order to be added onto my “chain,” there had to be something about what I saw or heard that was inherently memorable for me. After I returned from that walk, I successfully recalled all the items in my chain, boosting my confidence in my brain’s continued agility. Since then, I’ve built new memory chains on many subsequent walks. Try it! I encourage you to begin making some memory chains for yourself!