Talking To Myself: Evidence Of Impending Decrepitude Or Productivity Hack?

Oh the brain, she be tired and easily distracted.

Like the pre-old person I am.

You see, last week I was in a productive mood.  I was busy, but not overwhelmed.  Happy, but not dippy.  Energetic, but not the most organized I’ve ever been.

Thus it came to be at one point in the late afternoon, while I was whirling around the house, doing the things, thinking the important blogging thoughts, that I realized I’d forgotten what I was doing.

Completely forgot.

Just standing there in the middle of the room, immobile. Alone, no one else around to give me a prompt.

*Humph*

Thus as a way of getting myself back on track I said out loud to myself:

“Do the thing you were supposed to be doing when you realized that you hadn’t done the thing you were supposed to have done and stopped to do that thing.”

And guess what?

I listened to myself, did what I said I should do, and got back in the groove, because apparently when it comes to keeping the productivity choo-choo train on the track I need to use convoluted sentences to communicate with myself.

~ ~ ❓ ~ ~

Questions Of The Day

Had any good conversations with yourself lately? Did you listen to yourself? And how’d that work out for you?

~ ~ ❓ ~ ~

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

144 thoughts on “Talking To Myself: Evidence Of Impending Decrepitude Or Productivity Hack?”

  1. I do this all the time (forget what I’m doing AND talk to myself). I even have to stop and think about a word I want to say sometimes. Now I understand how ‘thingamajig, whatchamacallit, and, ‘Hey, You” (after a long line of saying every name I can think of)’ are everyday words in my vocabulary. Yes, I definitely talk to myself and (most times) I listen. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. randombitsoftrialanderror, laughing here. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, even if I am alone when I talk to myself. Good point about using a word like ‘thingamajig’ which is becoming a main stay in my personal lexicon, too. 🙄

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    1. nance, I admire your straightforward admission. We don’t have any cats anymore so when I talk to myself it is a conversation with moi. I suspect this is old age age creeping up on me, like wrinkles and achey knees.

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  2. LOL – I can just see you saying that out loud, as you look down at your toes and the fading pink polish. Or has that changed again by adding dots?! I have those conversations with myself all the time. My sentences aren’t as creative, though, it’s more like, “WTH were you thinking when you bought this anyhow?” Or something like that? Thanks for the smile today – glad you found your way to another productive post!

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    1. Shelley, oddly enough I’m usually rather obscure and convoluted with I talk to myself. I need to follow your example and be more direct with myself, giving me a strong sense of direction instead of my usual meandering chit-chat.

      [The toes remain pale pink and will be this shade until we get actual cold weather. I’ve made a commitment to this color because it makes me giggle when I see it. 😂]

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      1. Ally – oddly enough, I suspect that like me your readers adore your obscure, convoluted, meandering chit-chat. I know I’m always wondering what I’ll find when I stop by to see what you’ve had on your mind!
        LOL – now the giggling about your toes, umm, …nevermind, that’s perfect and you should keep right on giggling!! 🙂

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        1. I, too, wonder what I’ll be posting here. I’m long past the days of having an editorial calendar, so whatever strikes me in the moment is what I write about on this blog. It’s liberating, but can be daunting, too. 😳

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  3. I can’t remember ever talking to myself aloud, but lecturing myself silently, or going on a long mental hunt for that name or word I can’t remember? You betcha. The worst one is the name for Google’s ngram viewer. Now, I can type it, but when I want to use it, all that ever comes to mind is Nimby reader. I can’t even imagine how that one got lodged in the files.

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    1. shoreacres, laughing out loud here. You use a Nimby reader, now do ‘ya? Your brain is a magical place that knows what it needs to know to keep you going, in your own way. 😳

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    1. Joanne, yes, you raise an excellent point about using your inside voice whilst conversing with yourself. No need to bring undue attention to the conversation, it’s a private matter.

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  4. No long convoluted sentences with myself, but I do check items “off my list” with the occasional “OK” to indicate that I got something done and am ready to switch gears to the next “to do.”

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    1. nancy, you are organized. I am impressed. I say “ok” to myself, too. Of course, mine is more along the lines of wondering what the heck I was doing, rather than congratulating myself on accomplishing anything. 🙄

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  5. When I need intelligent conversation, I talk to myself. Sometimes it doesn’t go so well because I have high expectations and myself disappoints me. You do know there is a thing about walking through a doorway, right? It reboots your brain so you forget why you went into that room. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

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    1. Kate, YES! I’m sure I’m having an intelligent convo with me. That’s why I do it. I’ve not heard about this walking through a doorway phenomenon before. It would explain so much about my mental state lately. We have many doors in this house 🤔

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    1. Dorothy, that is an inspired idea. I love it. I can see that I need to work on finding meself an imaginary friend, one with enough years on her to be a good companion, of course. 😉

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  6. Of course I talk to myself… I live alone. Someone has to carry the conversation! I’ll be a bit concerned though, if the plants start talking back to me…

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    1. Deb, ha! I hadn’t thought it quite like this and you make a great point. Now promise me IF those plants start talking back to you, you’ll tell someone real about it. Just as a precaution against premature senility, of course.

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  7. I have a bit of a cold, and was trying to write a post, and my brain wasn’t clicking, so I talked to myself and said that I wasn’t going to go around the maypole trying to figure out what to say…I would just try again tomorrow

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    1. evilsquirrel13, well that just sucks. I need to feel like I accomplish things, so ADD is not for me. However do you get anything finished? Or maybe you don’t and it doesn’t matter

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      1. I tend to get things “finished enough.” Maybe nothing ever completely, or as completely as I’d like to. It could be a motivation problem as well because although I daydream (or nightdream) at work plenty, I do get a lot accomplished there.

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        1. Yep, motivation is part of getting things done. Either I have it or not depending on the projects. And the time of year. And the amount of caffeine coursing through me. I get your problem

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  8. I write in my head all the time and thus am easily distracted from what I’m supposed to be doing. It sometimes gets me in trouble when I’m driving and miss my turns.

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    1. Jean, I can understand how that could happen. I get lost in my thoughts, usually at home while doing something boring. Writing inspiration strikes at the darnedest times.

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  9. Good to know, Ally, that there is a way to get back on track. Also good to know that I am not alone in talking out loud to myself. I’m going to try this as I am more and more prone to getting off track and wool-gathering when left to my own devices. 😝 If it’s this bad now, look out Retirement!!!!

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    1. Deb, well, maybe when you retire you’ll be more rested and alert because of all your exciting changes so that you won’t need to talk to yourself. Or not. In either case I’d like to suggest that it won’t matter as long as you’re happy

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  10. I do counsel myself sometimes or tell myself that I’m being ridiculous. Living alone means that I occasionally think through things out loud. It really does help me process. Although I’m not generally an auditory person, the human voice is powerful.

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    1. Margaret, you’re right about how talking out loud helps process what’s going on right in front of you. Or inside your head. I generally only do the talking out loud thing when I’m by myself here and want to make some progress on whatever it is I’m working on.

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  11. Questions Of The Day: Had any good conversations with yourself lately? Did you listen to yourself? And how’d that work out for you?

    Well yeah, I’ve had conversations. Are they ‘good”? Remains to be seen I guess. And I’m the only one ‘speaking’ here as I live alone. The dogs are jolly good company but not particularly verbose. The irritating thing about my conversations is that they usually get really really loud about 3 a.m. Right now I’m dealing with a ‘maybe’ situation. There’s nothing I can do about it, I won’t know if my fears are well founded, not until next Spring (it has to do with a tree and a formerly healthy plant in my yard – which are both not looking all that perky. The plant is dead, but I’m not sure about the tree). The conversation revolves around “What IF?” “Maybe?” and as said there is no resolution right now. I need to shelve the conversation for later. But there it is (for the past three nights) yammering loudly when I should be sleeping. Sometimes our internal conversations are merely proof that even in our heads, we could STFU. Not in a mean way, mind you, but so someone can SLEEP FFS. Which is more important really? 😉 Great thoughtful questions! I’m snagging them to use in next week’s SYW..with proper credit to you of course. 😛

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    1. Melanie, oh those ‘maybe’ situations are the worst. When it gets to the point of wait and see on any issue you know that you need to have a few stern conversations with yourself if you’re going to remain sane. However I’m sorry that your conversations are going on at 3 a.m. At least my latest chat with me was in the middle of the afternoon with daylight streaming on my baffled self. Feel free to use the questions. I’m honored that you want to do so.

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  12. I don’t talk *to* myself, but I do talk out loud when I’m the only person present – if you see what I mean. I’m generally rehearsing something I want to say, or overthinking & obsessing about something I wished I’d been able to say backaways, if only my brain was quick enough and sharp enough. I wonder if I should practice telling myself what to do – I remember being pretty good at being bossy once upon a time 😀

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    1. deb, for me talking to myself is all about being bossy with me. I rarely sort through the angst of my emotional life out loud. Instead when I’m talking to me I’m doing so with a purpose and goal in mind. Trying to stay on track. Try getting bossy with yourself and see how it goes!

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      1. Ally, you’ve convinced me to try it. A life coaching book I read a while back advocated saying positive stuff to yourself out loud and I felt far too embarrassed to do that, but I could get behind the bossy way … and maybe slip in a bit of positive stuff while I’m at it. I shall report back at some time in the future.

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        1. Yeah, I’m not into saying positive affirmations out loud to myself. Seems hokey. But telling me what to do in a stern voice resonates with me. I look forward to your future report.

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  13. I said, “Let yourself write like shit. Get it all out and rewrite it later. Don’t SHOW anyone! Just get the frickin’ thoughts down, write the What, Where, and How. Jot down the Why and other Who’s and let it be shit. Another day you will go back with the golden thread on a magical needle. Today it’s a shit day so embrace it.”
    It worked.

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    1. laura, what a perfectly sane and lovely conversation to have with yourself. I like what you said to you, believing it to be true as well. And I like that you have a magical needle at your disposal which you’ll use in your own good time. Your conversation was a definite productivity hack. Good job

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    1. Janis, ha ha! Ok, that made me giggle. I can imagine saying the same thing. And of course then having that *uh-oh* moment of realization which puts the whole conversation into context. 😳

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  14. I need to take your advice, Ally! Many times I have entered a room for something only to promptly forget what I came for!

    I have talked to myself before. Usually I’ll say, “Why did I do that??” and other somewhat negative self-talk. Trying to convince myself to only say, “You’re doing fine. Celebrate with a slice of lemon cake.”

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    1. L. Marie, suggesting to yourself to celebrate [anything] with a slice of lemon cake is brilliant. I think you’re onto something with that idea. No need to be chatting with yourself about getting things done when one could be encouraging oneself to indulge. 😋

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  15. I don’t usually talk to myself, but I think it has value, so I’ve been trying to do more of it. Isn’t it an educational tool? You learn better and remember better when you use more than one sense. When you’re learning a language, you read the word, write it, speak it, and listen to it spoken out loud. Thoughts are such slippery things, especially as you get older and have too many thoughts mixed together.

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    1. Nicki, you’re right about how we learn a language so why not apply those concepts to remembering things. This is a smart way of looking at this topic. I know that when I get in the car to run errands I tell myself out loud where I want to go and the order in which I’ll be going. I started that years ago when we moved here from elsewhere and I was forever lost on the interstates. I guess I’m doing the same thing now inside the house.

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    1. Marty, I have to tell myself out loud where I’m going when I get in the car. I do it out of habit now. I gave up on plotting the most efficient route [traffic construction everywhere], but thanks to talking to myself I am happy to get a few things done with as little backtracking as possible. Small victories

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  16. It’s a really good thing to talk out loud to yourself! I’m doing it more and more as I age – it’s becoming my life line.

    I say out loud something along the lines “I am putting my spare key right here…”. Or “I’m putting my passport in this drawer”; if I don’t do
    this, then I’m done for and I might find myself running around in circles.

    My sister who is 64 (one year younger than me) is doing this too, so we have fun comparing notes and encouraging each other to keep talking out loud ! This talking out loud is saving my butt. 😂. So, you are in good company.

    Keep up the talking to yourself- it works!

    Susan Grace

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    1. Susan, I hadn’t realized how useful it is to talk to yourself, but you’re right. I like your idea of telling yourself what you’re doing as you do it. I know what you mean about running around in circles, and I tire of that, so I’ll take your advice and talk to myself more. As long as I listen it’ll be good.

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  17. If I walk into a room and forget why I came, I pinch myself, wait a while and the right thought comes . . . usually.

    I’m sure someone else said the same thingy earlier, but I don’t have time today to read all the comments. You go, girl!

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  18. Oh I talk to myself…problem is I’m beginning to talk in code so when I get to share stuff later with my hubby (luckily this doesn’t happen to others) I have to fill in lots of the blanks – translate it so to speak!!!
    😀

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    1. laura, that’s funny. I wonder if we all have our own codes that only make sense to us? I bet we do, but don’t even think about it until, like you said, you go to explain yourself to other people. 🤔

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  19. I talk to myself all the time, notably in the grocery store as I work through my list. I still manage to forget stuff that was on the list though. Obviously, though I am talking I am not listening.

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    1. dawn, I’ve yet to talk to myself while at the grocery but I can see how that could happen. I suspect the trick to this talking to yourself thing is to listen to what you’re saying, although I wonder if I do that as often as I think I do? Who knows, we’re all just a little cracked… 😉

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  20. I talk to myself all the time. Mostly in the car so I’m grateful now for the invention of mobile phones and bluetooth so others just think I’m talking to someone on the phone. And I’ve many times stood in front of the open freezer door in the laundry wondering what I was there to get only to realise I was actually supposed to go to the cabinet near the laundry door to get a wine glass. Obviously I was in need of that glass of wine…

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    1. Master of Something Yet, oh I’m loving your examples of talking to yourself. They’re so believable– and by that I mean I’ve done similar things. It’s the staring into the cupboards, wondering what I was supposed to be getting there, that makes me worry the most. Senility lurks around the edges of your mind, you know.

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    1. Betsy, you ask what we all wonder. I try to figure out why I do what I do, but who knows if I find the right answer? I’m hoping that in this particular instance I’m being productive, not senile. But…

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      1. It happens to all of us. Stopping to ask what you WOULD be doing in that room/situation, is a brilliant plan of attack. If I forget where I put something, I just ask myself, “Well, where WOULD I put it?” And I’m usually correct. 😉

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    1. srbottch, I still try to listen to myself but you make a good point. Is my advice useful or bad? Who’s to say– except me, the pre-old one. Aging ain’t for sissies, that’s for sure.

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  21. PRODUCTIVITY HACK for sure. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you the last conversation I had with myself, they happen so often. But I haven’t left the house without pants yet so I figure it’s working. 😉

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    1. Laura, thank you for your support. I’m going with productivity hack because I don’t like the alternative explanation. I’m finding that as I age I’m more open to listening to what I think I should do, both in the sense of talking to myself and in living my life my way. 😎

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    1. Donna, thank you! After I conversed with myself I kind of wondered what it meant, but decided as long as I’m still getting things done then it meant I was ok.

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  22. Well I talk to myself all the time Ally, but then I live alone and work from home and I mumble, grumble and just talk to myself in general. Not outside the house as I’ll lose my credibility. 🙂 I have gone downstairs and forgotten what I needed until I sat down again or needed it. The brain is a wonderful thing … most of the time.

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    1. linda, I’m sure that in your situation you’d have to converse with yourself or lose your marbles completely. Plus grumbling can be it’s own kind of fun. I agree about the brain, when she’s working I do enjoy what she has to say. Sadly she’s not always on the ball like she once was. 🙄

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      1. Yes, you’re right Ally … sometimes I can walk and see no humans – it is not unusual. Most of the walkers there are retired, so once the weather gets colder, they go to the mall or have treadmills, so I am often alone down there, which is fine with me. Sometimes I speak to my boss several times a day and sometimes we just e-mail one another during the work day. The barking dog on the corner and the small dog next door who begins whining/crying for its owner five minutes after she leaves for work and continues all day have been called a few choice names …they and their owners would not like me very much. Even coffee does not help me be on the ball like it once did. Before my boss/I went out on our own in February 2003, our office was in a building where Starbucks was on the ground floor. I’d stop every morning and get a tall, black, strong roast brew and I would be humming all day. Now, I could drink coffee and go to bed without issue. I think of a song learned back in camp which began like this: “The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be ….”

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        1. I remember that song. My mother used to sing it to herself for reasons I now understand. Coffee has less of an affect on my too, but I still insist on not drinking it in the afternoons. I often spend days alone and am perfectly content to do so. Introverts be like that, you know? 😉

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          1. We never had much commotion going on in this house anyway, so I am accustomed to peace and quiet (notwithstanding the neighborhood dogs). When I worked on site it was just Robb and me. He is a labor attorney who used to spend more time away from the office than in it. With voicemail, e-mail, PDFs instead of sending/receiving faxes, the need to be on the go is not so great now. But sometimes days would go by and I only saw other people in the elevators, or when I went down to the basement for the mail.

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  23. I meant to say that when I first started using the internet, I’d be looking here, there and everywhere and could while away considerable time straying from my original “Google” search. One site I could get lost in was https://www.refdesk.com … I could wade around that site and never come out again. I quit going there for the same reason I stopped playing Solitaire – it hogged a lot of time.

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    1. I don’t know about this particular website and knowing my propensity to surf the net I’m not sure if I should click on the link. I might not be seen again for a week. However, curiosity forces me to see what’s there.

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  24. Would have loved to read all the comments Ally Bean but I’m racing ahead of myself at this stage. But read your post I just have – and of course I talk to myself. I’m the only one who listens to me. Oh, and I mutter a lot too and of COURSE i forget what I was about to do when I enter a room to do whatever –

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    1. Susan, thanks for taking the time to comment. I had no idea that so many of my readers talk to themselves! Kind of makes me wonder what sort of folks we all are. [Spoiler alert: good ones] 😊

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    1. Pam, I do that retracing my steps thing, too. But usually when I’m looking for an actual object, not when I’ve lost my choo-choo about what project I’m doing. It seems that whatever gets us by, is what we do to stay productive and alert. 😊

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  25. What? We’re not supposed to talk to ourselves? 🙂 I can control that so when I’m shopping I talk in my head and not out loud. The forgetting what you’re doing is an entire different matter. I head to the garage for a tool, get inside, stop, and can’t remember, so I walk around the car and by the time I get back to where I started, I remember. Good thing the nosy neighbor can’t see me. 🙂

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    1. Judy, I don’t seem to talk to myself in stores, but when I’m here alone I can get quite chatty. A couple other commenters mentioned moving around as a way of sparking your brain into remembering what you’re doing. I like that idea granted, like you said, no nosy neighbor can see you.

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  26. Whatever works, Ally. If I want to remember one simple thing, even someone’s name, I have a convoluted process to help me remember. Saying it out loud in a sentence helps. Then I am talking to myself. Oops, this is where we started:)

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    1. Erica/Erika, from the comments here I’ve come to learn that almost everyone talks to themselves. What’s interesting is how we all do it, but with the same intention to remember something. Gotta love human nature on this one

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  27. I have been talking to myself since I was wee, so you know, not an old people, or pre-old people thing. I did read once that onlies talk to themselves more often. How lonely, but spoiled I have been, heh.
    I have been going into rooms and forgetting why since sometime in my 30s, which is a terrible age to think of as ‘getting old’ — that escalated quickly, hm? But, you know what I marvel at? My body knows where to go even when my brain has forgotten. My body has taken me to the correct room — how can my brain be talking to my body without telling ME?!? What a betrayal!

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    1. joey, I didn’t know that about onlies, but as one I believe it. No doubt about that, invisible friends aside who else was there to talk with? I need to let my body lead the way when I forget what I’m doing. I agree it’s a betrayal to the brain, but if it gets things done then I can accept it.

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  28. I often talk to myself, definitely on the way to and from work (usually with several select swear words). I’ll talk out loud like you did in your example, but I also engage in what I call self-talk therapy. When I have “issues,” particularly at my job but often in other aspects of my life, issues that distress me, I’ll sit myself down and talk it out. I’ll talk through different scenarios of how to deal with the situation or the person. I will talk until I’m hoarse but I’ve found that it really helps. Number one: once I start describing the situation or issue to myself, it often becomes less of a problem. Number two: Describing different resolutions gives me a sense of choice, which can also be calming. The only problem is sometimes I talk out loud, thinking I have privacy and then find that I do not. Several months ago I was talking away in my office, discussing with myself some problem I had, when my boss quietly appeared at my door and asked if she was interrupting. I smiled and said no. Then she said, “Oh, I thought I heard you talking on the phone.” I smiled some more and said, “No, I wasn’t.” She looked totally perplexed. Apparently our walls are quite thin around here. I never told her my secret and now I keep my voice down to almost a whisper 😉

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    1. Marie, I like your reasoning about why you talk to yourself and your process when doing so. I don’t do that, never thought of it, but I could see [hear?] me doing that so thanks for the idea. As for your boss hearing your not phone conversation, got to say that’s funny. I wonder if sitting in your office whispering to yourself will seem more or less peculiar to anyone who overhears you?

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      1. Talking to myself in my office is further complicated by the glass insert in my door. Anyone walking by inevitably glances in. You can imagine if I include hand gestures along with talking 😉 We’re prohibited from covering the glass so …. Just counting down the days until I’m doing all my self-talk in the privacy of my own home.

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