Combating the Dumb Head
I’m sure I’m getting dumber. I’ve begun to take for granted that I will always know all things I once learned. Suddenly I realize I’m not so good at math. I forget the capital of Vermont. Even my vocabulary, the party trick of any English teacher, grows dimmer by the year. Surely working with young children is to blame. As I aid their developing brains I drain my own?
Then I remember what I do to increase, even maintain, active thought. Not much. Somewhere along the way StarWorld replaced Salinger and my idle thoughts went more towards my wardrobe and less towards wonderful wonderings. Alliteration remains the last stronghold – or is it hold out?
Anywho, I begin to consider how much effort and attention my brain might actually deserve. After watching my Gramma fall to Alzheimer’s I’ve frequently thought of the importance of an active mind. And dreaded beyond all dread the idea of forgetting. But in my teen-turned-twenties-turned thirties invincibility and distractibility, brain games are another Good-for-Me thing to do when I’m older and having less fun. Like taking calcium supplements or stretching. Right now the music blares, the scooter calls and friends are always up for a jol.
But when did “mindless” activities become synonymous with relaxation? When did “not thinking about it” become an acceptable excuse to put off ‘til tomorrow while today beckons. When did overthinking and thinking too hard become so negative?
Even though I travel, even though I expat, even though I blog, I rarely think. I now look to Facebook and Huffington Post for buzz words to stay afloat about current events, and keep a quick quip in me bag o’ conversation tricks in case of ignorance emergency. As an adult(ish) with a steady job, fulfilling social group and pretty beach to lay (lie?) upon, it’s easy to become complacent.
Even if you push yourself it’s often within the realm of a few key areas where you already have a strong base. Yes, I know more about elementary education now than I did before. I know more about Vietnam. I learned how to drive a scooter (sort of). But besides that which is right in front of me, demanding a bit of attention, I sag in my development. Frequently I joke, “It’s all downhill after 30.” Mostly I say this as a parody of those who start thinking they’re actually old when they’re not. And I’m not. I am hardly downhill. I’ve not even yet reached the summit. I am in need of diving fearlessly into a new pursuit. Of working to become a novice instead of a completely-ignorant in brand new categories.
It’s time to combat the dumb head.