Friday, May 17, 2013
We read it all the time: We've got to challenge our brains to keep them fully engaged. We've got to challenge our brains to remain capable.
I'm particularly in need of capability-inducing challenges. I'm the sort of person who can remember the kind of ice cream I ordered at Dippy Don's as an eight-year-old but forgets the name of the person singing behind me in church (forgive me!). I can regale you with tales of memoirs loved and read (hundreds of them) but forget (just ask Libby Mosier) what tense I used for my own first young adult novel (past tense, in case you are wondering; I just checked).
I work to stave off my own decline by giving myself impossible things to do. Reading that is above my comprehension level (hey, that isn't hard). Pottery (because I'm a lifelong craft-o-phobe). And, as most of you know, ballroom dance.
This past week—my head full of too many things (and aching, too)—I was close as I have ever come to canceling the lesson. Just. No. Time. But then, in a hurry, we went. (So much of a hurry that I forgot my dance shoes, because no, we girls don't do salsa in pink Gap slippers—and yes, what does this tell you? My memory is slipping.)
Here's me with a migraine dancing with Scott, our instructor at DanceSport—videotaped so that my husband and I wouldn't forget the steps the second we left the studio. It's not pretty. The shoes are all wrong. I mess up.
But I'm keeping some blood flowing to my brain. And especially when it feels that we don't have any time for that, it's precisely what the doctor ordered.
To the challenges that will sustain us.