The Old Gray Matter, She Ain’t What She Used to Be

gray matterLet’s face facts: as our bodies age, our skin is less elastic. The same is true of our brains. I’m working on accepting the former with some semblance of grace. I mean what’s a bit of loose skin among friends? I am not, however, happy about the fuzzy grey matter that seems to be part and parcel of the menopause years. I want my sharper brain back.

Scientists that know a thing or to suggest activities that stretch our mental muscles. I could have taken up Sudoku or the New York Times crossword puzzle but no. I needed a real challenge. I switched from a PC to a Mac, then switched from Quicken™ to QuickBooks™ within a short period of time.

Today, like a runner at the end of a marathon, I’m feeling pumped with pride and exhausted at the same time. I linked bank accounts, created invoices, embedded my logo and stayed awake long enough to write this blog. (A bit of chocolate helped).

Mostly, I’m just glad it’s done.

Have you challenged yourself lately with something completely out of your comfort zone? How did you do?

28 thoughts on “The Old Gray Matter, She Ain’t What She Used to Be

  1. I think I’d rather do the crossword than learn to use any sort of accounting software! I’ve been in some stressful situations that were way out of my comfort zone in recent months, so I’m currently trying to be kind to myself. However, I do like having a go at new things and am always on the look out for an interesting course to attend!

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  2. Oh how I smiled [somewhat grimly it has to be admitted] Aging bodies. brains that take so long to click over … I just ruined my lovely pink lace knitting by being completely unable to understand that I was knitting the thing upside down and could not get my head around the third step – until all was chaos and then I said brightly to myself “Ah!, so now I see what I should have done ….” Too late of course, a pile of frogged yarn piled on the floor, the remaining stitches on the needle completely lost to any resemblance of pretty pattern ….. It’s staying like that til the second colour yarn I decided rather abruptly to introduce, arrives sometime next week.

    Of course most recently I challenged myself by travelling to America unaccompanied. How did I do? I got lost!

    Seriously though, I think taking an interest in the world and the people around you is the best thing you can do to keep your brain healthy. You’ll be fine xoxo

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    • Oh no!!! Pauline, how disappointing. You’ve put so much time into that lovely piece. One of the things that keeps me from tackling more then the most basic knitting is just that: the complexity of counting and seeing things in a different dimension. You have my sympathies.

      Traveling to America, alone, for 36 hours and to connect with people without a concrete airport plan was an incredible challenge to the brain. It can be overwhelming on so many levels, yet you did it. My software challenge pales by comparison. I hope the arrival of the new yarn gives you a new lease on your project. Best of luck. xox

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  3. A good question Alys! I suppose my work challenges my brain… often quite technical texts that I have to research in order to translate! My six-month old ‘new’ cellphone is also still challenging me…. 😉

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  4. You are always up to something, Alys. You have a keen desire to grow in knowledge and you do with with kindness and energy. Good for you for these accomplishments, a challenge at any age!!

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    • Thank you, LB. I find technology fascinating and frustrating. Much of it is not intuitive, at least for me. So when I can tame the x’s and o’s and make it work, I’m thrilled. The help screen was better than most.

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  5. Sadly, my mind is too foggy for a clever comment……yes, I know the feeling! I am trying to get all of Robert’s services transferred to Southern California and I can’t seem to keep track of it all. 《sigh》It’s like we have moved to a different state.

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  6. Good job with setting up all of that, Alys.
    I read an interview with Doris Lessing about ageing. It was a fascinating read, but would you believe that I can’t remember anything she said?! I would recommend it, if only I could remember where I read it …… 😕
    Maybe remembering usernames and passwords are the modern equivalent of sudoku and crosswords!

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    • Anne, that is so funny! Good thing we have Google search. I can go look it up.

      I finally gave in and bought a paper book for all my passwords. The constant need to change them, and to have different ones for multiple accounts, made it the only practical way to keep track.

      I think you have an excellent point.

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  7. I think I recognize that batik. Goodness, switching platforms and softwares is very adventurous. AND just the sort of thing your brain needs. I can also tell you that the menopause brain fog lifts and a lovely grounded stability can set in. Challenges. I sat through a crazy community meeting with people saying wildly uninformed things, took careful notes and said … absolutely nothing instead of trying to fix it. Which even I knew would not work. And which took great restraint and a certain amount of deep breathing.

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    • Lisa, my goodness you have a good eye! You do indeed. I wanted something gray/grey to go with the post and it fit the bill.

      I’m thrilled to hear that grounded stability is in my future. That makes me so happy I could…umm…what was I saying?

      😉

      Congratulations on holding your tongue, breathing and taking notes. That definitely used some brain power. Well done.

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  8. This one tickled me with all the comments. User names and passwords are the equivalent of a crossword puzzle. I applaud you managing the change to Mac. Not an easy one I understand. But sweety, you ain’t seen nothin yet. It’s like once you qualify for social security, the brain decides to retire too. That’s why I quilt. Talk about a giant puzzle. Poorly written directions keep all of us on our toes. That could be part of Pauline’s problem too. I hate to hear older people tell me they want nothing to do with smart phones or computers. They are too hard for them. Like you, I see them as an excellent way to keep those neurons firing. It’s ok to get a little help from tech support as long as you don’t quit trying. You go girl!

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    • I’m glad you’re tickled, Marlene. Aren’t the comments the best?

      You’re right about a quilt being a big puzzle. Good point. It also works your fine motor skills and manual dexterity too. I hope Pauline can sort things out. I wonder if they have a knitting hotline? Wouldn’t that be great.

      Thanks for cheering me on. Today I’m using my neurons to outsmart the snails. Doesn’t seem like a fair fight does it? I covered my three tiny basil plants with my ‘squirrel screen saver’ then taped the top closed with metallic tape of some sort, found in my husband’s work bench. I’ll let you know tomorrow how they fair overnight.

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      • Looking forward to hearing how it goes. My neighbor asked me what was all over the side of my house. It was dried slugs that got lost. Big fat ones. I’m getting ready to attack the yard in the next few days with weed block fabric. Getting rid of the lawn. Then the planter boxes go in. I’ll have to re-home those slugs. I’d like to send the garter snake somewhere it doesn’t scare the bejezzus out of me every time I go out there. I know we need them but I don’t have to like them. Till later.

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  9. Great that you are challenging yourself, Alice! Coming down to London this weekend has been a bit of a challenge for me – maybe not the kind you were thinking of but I am sure it has stretched me 😊.

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  10. Welcome to the world of Apple, the land of no user guides. I guess it’s because they are so intuitive (insert laughter here). A kitchen knife is intuitive, a garden hose….yep intuitive. You really can’t use them the wrong way. Whoever thought you couldn’t use a computer the wrong way doesn’t know what the word ‘intuitive’ means. Good going to figure it all out. I broke down in the beginning and bought ‘Macs for Dummies’ and actually learned a lot. It’s probably available at the library too.

    I can’t think of anything I attempted to do out of my comfort zone lately. I can make calamity out of the simplest thing without much effort at all. Good times, good times. xoxox

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  11. Applause!! ahha, Doing anything new on the computer will do it!! lol. YEs, it seems i test myself like this all the time. Mac has quicken by the way- only its not as good as it was on the PC. That was a real test for me too. It actually still is every month. Yesterday I made a 4 page survey with 50 questions to go out to almost 200 people. I had no idea what I was doing. My brain FEELS EXTREEMLY fuzzy today. I am thinking that it is the result of coffee honestly. I go in spurts with drinking it, and I think it is bad news for the head- sleep and eating patterns. I don’t know though. I want the old me back too i was honestly just thinking the same.

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    • Thank you, thank you! I have Quicken for the Mac and would have to agree with you. I’ve kept Quicken for our personal finances, and went with Quickbooks online for my business. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.

      A four-page survey makes my head spin. It’s any wonder your brain feels fuzzy. I hope a good nights sleep and some easing off the caffeine will help you get back on track. I’ve missed you around Word Press. Thanks for catching up.

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