Globetrotter's advice looks good, but also from my reading on the subject, memory doesn't fade a great deal as you get older, there are other factors involved.
I would also venture to say if you've given up smoking quite recently - that will still be affecting your short term memory. Medicines and drugs affect the short term memory very easily, and if you've smoked for 20 years, quitting is a huge upheaval.
It will just take a little more time for your brain to adjust.
The 5 principles of remembering things well are;
Organising the information
For example Metro - I'd bet that your conversation recall is zero, because you have so much going on with long working hours, so don't pay attention to conversation like you used to, or prioritise remembering it.
From what I've read also, as people get older their memory tends to move from less visual to more verbal, so mnemonics should be adjusted accordingly.
For example constructing stories out of data you need to remember, turns the abstract into something very easy to remember.
A simple example is for a recent exam I did, and certain tax reliefs available on Capital Gains. I constructed the following story:
"Duncan Bannatyne goes up to a security gate. The security guard tells him to 'Hold up'. He tells him to do this as in Duncan's hair on the left is a pin strip hair roller. IN Duncan's right ear - incorporated in his ear, is another roller.
The security guard thinks he looks stupid, so he says let's start over"
This story stands for:
1. Duncan Bannatyne = Entrepreneur's relief
2. Security saying 'hold up' = Holdover relief
3. Pin stripe hair roller = Business rollover relief
4. Roller IN his ear = Rollover relief on incorporation
5. 'let's start over' = Reinvestment relief
This is a simple example with not much data, but each of these points acts as aided recall to go into depth on each point, with further mnemonics for the detail within.
Most good students use mnemonics to a degree without ever having formally learnt them, and then when you leave formal education you get out of the habit of using learning and memory techniques. Your brain hasn't declined - just your habits!
I learned to properly apply mnemonics from the following book - I would very highly recommend it, it will also put your mind at ease that your memory is fine (the hardware), you just need to use it more effectively (the software)http://www.amazon.com/Your-Memory-Ho...1926783&sr=1-6