Your Brain on Games

My mother was a NY Times Crossword Puzzle snob.  She tackled the Sunday edition in pen, disdaining anyone looking over her shoulder offering lame suggestions.  She used the “e word” liberally  — “Oh Barclay, really, it’s so easy.”  Which of course left you feeling completely stupid when 1 Across through 5 Down were as blank as your brain.

But lest we be too hard on Peggy, many of us may have some puzzle-snobism within – (though never uttering the e-word).  Brett is a Jumbles Expert —  who sees beyond LOUEDM and REFTER to their real-word counterparts  – something I am in awe of.  (**Answers provided at  the end of this post; give it a go; I dare you!)

My friend, Debbie, is a Suduko expert; Michelle a crossword aficionado a al Peggy.

I am the master of none.

Sudokos leave me feeling stupid; Crossword puzzles must have the word, EASY, emblazoned on them; and Jumbles — well, all I see is REFTER which clearly describes a person who likes “refting”.

And witnessing me try to parallel park will have you chuckling for days.  (Ask my friend, Jeanne).

But the good news is that we can improve our skills and our brains will be the better for it – particularly if we play different types of brain games.

Dr. Gary Small of the UCLA Longevity Center says, “Just as you’d lift weights AND do cardio, you can maximize cognitive fitness with various types of exercise”.  By “exercise” he means brain games which we rotate according to their targeted focus.

Language: Jumbles, Scrabble

Visual-Spatial: Mazes, Jigsaws

Problem Solving: Chess, Sudoku, Logic games

Memory and Concentration: Trivial Pursuit, Candy Crush

 

 

 

Interestingly, I’ve noticed at the nursing home I visit with Codie, the older folks who seem the most engaged are those who are cradling a Crossword or a Word Search, who never miss a Jeopardy or a Wheel of Fortune.  These folks also prefer books with large print to TV unending.

And one more thing about games, they are FUN.  They provide challenge, satisfaction, a sense of control.

And they just may help in remembering where your keys are (hopefully not in the freezer) or the name of that neighbor of 15 years.

Plus they may provide a chuckle or two — as you “reft” onward.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Find a puzzle to tackle today.  There’s no shame in looking for the word, EASY!

-Celebrate your progress.  I have completed ONE Suduko,  Yes, one.  But I will drink to that!

 

Enjoy the DEIR***!

xox  Barclay and Joy

 

 

** muddle; ferret

*** RIDE

 

Got a minute?  Oprah.com offers this challenge —

Changing Words (language)

Begin with WALL and change one letter at a time until you get to FIRM. Each change has to create an actual word.

WALL

____
____
____

FIRM

The Power of Stuff

My family of origin took pleasure in throwing things out.  (Unfortunately in the process, they accidentally tossed family heirlooms, vital documents, plane tickets.)    My mom’s closet was sparse, each item of clothing meticulously chosen.  My dad wore too-short jeans from K-Mart which mom tried to throw out but somehow lived to see another day.  If you left a swimsuit under the bed after visiting their Florida home, you would not expect to see it again.  They were  Minimalists before it was fashionable.

My parents certainly accumulated stuff, but they only kept what gave them joy.  At Christmastime if you presented my mother with anything but a book, she was angry.  “We don’t need ANYthing!”  Even your book would be given away the minute it was finished.

So where do you fall on the continuum with Minimalism on the one end and reality show Hoarder-ism on the other?

The Netflix documentary, Minimalism, warns about being consumed by our stuff and touts the joy to be found with a simpler lifestyle and fewer belongings.  One woman on the show pared down her wardrobe to 33 items to be worn over three months.  That is not a typo. 33 – including scarves, jewelry, shoes.  Why did she need six pairs of jeans when she only wore her two favorites?  Each item had to be a “favorite” –   otherwise it went to Goodwill.  She also adopted the one-in  —  two-out rule for purchasing.

Well I’m not sure we’re ready for the 33 challenge.  (And some of us are married to folks on the Hoarding side of the continuum.)  But we Baby Boomers should not be spending our Third Act (Jane Fonda descriptor) organizing, dusting, and arranging stuff.

In  Everything that Remains, Minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn writes, “The things you own end up owning you.”

He goes on,

“Now before I spend money I ask myself one question:  Is this worth my freedom?  Like: Is this coffee worth two dollars of my freedom?  Is this shirt worth thirty dollars of my freedom?  Is this car worth thirty thousand dollars of my freedom?  In other words, am I going to get more value from the thing I’m about to purchase, or am I going to get more value from my freedom?”

 

So personally I’m working my way toward the Minimalist side of the continuum.

But full disclosure – I did just buy five tank tops at Target.  I mean, they were only $5.00 each!!  Can you blame me???

 

Today’s Takeaway –

– Peggy, my mom, was right yet again…it’s time to toss the stuff that needs daily dusting and does not spark a lick of joy.

– But watch out that your tax return is not hiding in the Goodwill bag!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

Click the book image below if you want to purchase the Minimalist memoir from our dear friends at Amazon (who have not helped my quest for Minimalism!!)

 

 

 

 

 

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