Food for Thought
by Leigh Currey Merrifield, Editor

I’m sure this has happened to you …. You see a face on television and know it but just can’t think of the name instantly.  You begin to berate yourself for being so forgetful, which doesn’t help matters any; then an hour later, it just comes to you!  Is it an “age thing” or just that our minds get so full of things we have in progress and things we still have to accomplish that we suffer from overload?

We read a lot about keeping our brains active – especially as we age.  You’ve heard the “use it or lose it” advice, right?  This doesn’t mean that we need to memorize the capitals of the states or practice reciting the alphabet backwards, but it is good to read, work puzzles, and challenge ourselves to learn new things.  These things are good for young people as well!

We’re all guilty of putting something down and forgetting where we put it!  We’re not necessarily losing our minds, but many of us live in chaos, trying to do too much too quickly so that we can move on to the next item on our crowded agenda.  One suggestion is to leave a little room in our schedules for some QUIET – time with limited distractions.  Chaos breeds confusion, and it is more difficult to access our memory system when we are surrounded by contradictory stimuli.

I read an article that advised people to stay organized.  It said you could eliminate some frustration by finding a “memory spot”, a central location where you place things all the time that you need or use daily – things like your keys, wallet, cell phone, etc.  These are all items that people tend to misplace often.  And if you are a list-maker, centralize your list in one location where you can always find it.  Scattered notes foster forgetfulness.

I’m not knocking progress, but we have become a very spoiled society, all too reliant on too many gadgets to get us through the day.   Our computers and cell phones keep a calendar for us and remind us of appointments and tell us where to be and when; they also store contact names and numbers so that we don’t have to remember them.  We begin to rely on this convenience and perhaps don’t expect our brains to do it anymore.  Supposedly, this frees up space in our minds so that we can devote to more pressing matters.  Or perhaps if we didn’t load our schedules quite so much, we could remember these things on our own. ????

We have spellcheck on our computers to catch our spelling/grammar errors, but let’s not rely on this entirely so that we’re not able to correct our own lazy mistakes.  Calculators are great, too, but hopefully our kids will still learn to add and subtract on their own!

We live in a busy world, but we need to train ourselves to allow for a few moments of QUIET each day – no interference or interruptions from gadgets … and take a break from the noise of the television … and to-do tasks … and simply relax our minds.

Exercise your mind by making a different kind of list.  Make a list of the really important things that make life meaningful – such as the list below:

Remember that your presence in the world is a special time not to be wasted.

Remember that you are a unique and unrepeatable creation.

Remember that your life can be what you want it to be.

Remember to take the days just one at a time.

Remember to count your blessings, not just your troubles.

Remember that you’ll make it through whatever comes along.

Remember that most of the answers you need are within you.

Remember that your decisions are too important to leave to chance.

Remember to always reach for the best that is within you.

Remember that nothing wastes more energy than worry.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Remember that the longer you carry a grudge, the heavier it gets.

Remember not to take every little thing too seriously.

Remember to laugh a little.

Remember that happiness is more often found in giving than receiving.

Remember that life’s treasures are people, not things.

Remember that every day is a gift.

Remember that God is always happy to hear from you.

Solitude and a little silence are good things.  Welcome them into each of your days.  Consider it an escape from the mania of fleeting tasks and concentrate on the real wealth of each day.

This week’s dessert:  “If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.”  ~  John Bunyan