Sunday, January 03, 2010

There is Hope

A friend recently shared this article (click on the title to link to it) on Facebook (yes, I have Facebook & not ashamed to admit it!), which gives me hope that my brain still retains the ability to learn even in middle age.

What is written about the forgetfulness & absentmindedness is so true, especially the bit about forgetting about things on the stove - so far so good, no fires or burnt pots yet *touch wood*! But also true is the ability to see the bigger picture, & to look at things from a different perspective. I think part of it comes with life experiences, and maybe these experiences help to form the new neural connections & networks within our brains.

I find myself looking at the big picture a lot more than I used to, and sometimes more than others my age or older.

This article has been quite reassuring to me.
“There’s a place for information,” Dr. Taylor says. “We need to know stuff. But we need to move beyond that and challenge our perception of the world. If you always hang around with those you agree with and read things that agree with what you already know, you’re not going to wrestle with your established brain connections.”

Such stretching is exactly what scientists say best keeps a brain in tune: get out of the comfort zone to push and nourish your brain. Do anything from learning a foreign language to taking a different route to work."

I have done exactly that, in the last 3+ years. Out of clinical medicine, out of my comfort zone, doing what I do now as a parent volunteer in school has stretched my neurons/synapses & created new networks which I didn't know was possible. I do things I've not done before, and find myself doing them unexpectedly well. I surprise myself that I am able to apply what I have learned as a doctor, a mother, a wife, to things that are so unlike what I have ever done before. AND enjoying myself at the same time.

I intend to continue stretching my brain in the coming years, especially once I am an empty nester which will come sooner than I like; perhaps into an area of Medicine that will, for me, awaken the passion that has been missing in this aspect of my professional life so far.

Stay tuned for updates - no promises when, but it will happen sooner or later.

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