After the age of 25, our memory speed and accuracy start to slip. Aghhhh! That fact alone often produces anxiety in the adult population, especially those over the age of 40... the age at which the U.S. Department of Labor starts to identify workers as "older adults" (emphasis added).
Recent research in brain development, however, indicates that memory "decline" is not the beginning of the end but an indication of cognitive growth. This theory is supported by German researchers who have concluded that slower memory responses reflect increased knowledge. They reason that because knowledge increases with experience and experience increases with age, aging brains just have a whole lot more information to sort through. Read more here.
Dr. Goldberg, a neuroscientist at New York University, expands further on the role of experience. He suggests that that experience helps to develop highly-refined pattern recognition skills. These skills allow us to speed up the problem-solving process when making decisions, resulting in actions that we "just know" are right.
That "just knowing," along with reflection and compassion, is often correlated with wisdom... a quality that many of us strive for as we age. We also seek it in our leaders, hoping that their wisdom will guide us through the challenges that we face together.
So the next time your memory fails to perform at warp speed, don't panic! There's a good chance that you're in the process of trading quick memory for a more mature and wiser mind.