How did this happen?

Posts tagged ‘Aging brain’

Focusing on Multi-Tasking

 I’ll be honest.  Focus has never been my strong point. 

When I was younger, I loved restaurant dining because I eavesdropped on so many great conversations while listening to what was going on at the table where I was seated.  Well, sorta listened.

As a random thinker, I was so pleased when the term multi-tasking was created to legitimize my penchant for chasing numerous shiny objects simultaneously and catching none.  But, if I claimed I was multi-tasking, I sounded sophisticated and overworked rather than clueless and disorganized. 

Early in my marriage, my husband figured out that my multi-tasking occasionally led to disastrous results including saucepan bottoms burned off when I forgot about the water boiling for tea on the electric range. 

But as a young mother and working wife, this talent for multi-tasking became an asset, if not a necessity.  I could drive the kids to baseball practice, plan the next day’s meeting, and grade papers all within the space of a coffee break. 

Oh sure, there were still occasional mishaps when  I was trying to talk on my early 21st century handheld speaker phone while  driving my stick shift and drinking Slim-Fast.  That was one of those “I really didn’t want to wear this outfit, turn around to home days.”

But now that I can euphemistically call myself a mid-life boomer, multi-tasking seems to be a practice that I should shed like those extra wavers attached to my upper arms.  Focus is advised by the aging brain expert.  And, I have noticed more gas tank caps dangling for miles, credit cards left to be shared by all at the checkout stands, and water running on the locust tree overnight or several nights if truth be told. 

So, I’m focusing on focusing from now on.  Consequently, I’ll end this so that I can text a message before the car needs to be shifted into third and my latte gets too cold.

Mind Games

Recently, while punching the remote  and trying to decide whether to tune in Crime Scene microbial evidence in LA or Miami, I saw  snatches of a Public Broadcasting  show called “Super Brain Power” or  maybe it was “Your Old Brain” or “How to Not Look Like You Have Dementia”.  Pausing just long enough from the CSI murder trail, I learned from the brain gurus that people of a “certain age” should do four things to keep their brains active.  One of these things is give your brain challenging tasks, another is … oh, I can’t remember. 

Anyway, back to the challenging tasks.  I’m not positive but I think this is the reason that sales of Sudoku books have rocketed over the past several years.  That is if you ignore the fact that some Stanford math nerd just invented this diabolical game in 1996 and gave it some old school Japanese sounding moniker that the folks at PBS liked.

Like me, you may have been suckered into thinking that working with Sudokuian numbers one through nine couldn’t be that hard.  But hold on Gridlock Breath;  these things are hard.  Oh sure, some of the game squares have numbers filled in, but I have yet to see one Sudoku where I only have to write in oh, say one or maybe  two numbers.  How unfair is that!

So, in my quest to stay at the peak of my mental prowess, (I heard that whisper: “This is her peak?”), I elected to turn my back on those mathematical grids and pursue another mind game. Fearing that controlling all  NASDAQ transactions would land me in trouble with the SEC or those Word Find puzzle books might look a little juvenile while sipping a latte at Starbucks, I landed on the crossword puzzle. 

I started with that familiar yellow clad series “101 Crossword Puzzles for Dummies”.  The only thing I could fill in was my name on the front cover.  Not wanting to be daunted by a few mysterious foreign word clues, I dropped down to a slightly more accessible crossword version.  And, you know if you wrap the ”Easy Crosswords for a Fifth Grader” in a brown paper sack, hardly anyone at Starbucks laughs at me…maybe a few snickers, but rarely do they point and laugh.  Besides, I know I’m connecting those brain synpases while struggling with the three letter synonym for ancient.