DeJONGHE: Stimulate the brain

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We all have our share of inadequacies and maybe, if we are lucky, even a few talents. I think we figure out early on what we can and cannot do with proficiency.

Some spend the rest of their lives working to overcome deficiencies while showcasing talents. Some of us just acknowledge what we are not good at and leave it at that. We understand our shortcomings and find ways to camouflage them, while trying to improve that in which we are already pretty skilled.

I have yet to find at what I might be proficient, skilled or talented. I readily acknowledge my failings and weaknesses to avoid embarrassment of exposure by others.

I find no shame in not being a numbers person. I admit I have to count when I add but I still have a profound distrust of calculators. I use them but inevitably use my counting method to add columns. I think it’s a skill to be able to imperceptibly count when adding. It’s like reading without moving your lips.


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I also acknowledge, at times with pride and other times with shame, my brain doesn’t work the same as most people. I am more of a words person but my brain seemingly conjures up strange images compared to others. When I read or hear a word I don’t know, I look it up. I love learning new words even if I don’t retain them for long. You know, it’s the limited brain capacity thing.

Both of these, words and numbers, are being challenged these days as I try to do a brain stimulation activity at least once a day. Crossword puzzles can be difficult because of my weird thinking. The clue can be so clear I immediately know the answer only to find none of my thoughts fit. When the answer is finally revealed I am amazed. For instance when the clue ‘pitch’ came up recently, I instantly went to baseball – slider, fastball, curve, strike, etc. None fit so I went on to where soccer is played – field, arena, etc. Well, that didn’t work so how about a salesman’s spiel, singing or putting up a tent. Nope. I continued on with the puzzle only find out the answer was tar.

How about ‘bills?’ Hydro, gas, restaurant, grocery, etc.?  Beaks? Correct answer: ones. Maybe it’s because we don’t have those anymore. In one puzzle they had ‘range’ as the clue and I thought variations of stove and then large prairie type fields. The answer was scope. Later in the same puzzle they had scope as a clue and, being a fast learner, I thought range. I was quite proud of myself.

I even learn some new words, or maybe forgotten words doing these puzzles. Who knew a garret is an attic or space below the roof.

I don’t often do mental acuity activities that involved numbers but have discovered a card game that involves math so I am working on it.

Never too old to learn, eh?

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