Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Losing My Mind

I just called the guy who mowed the lawn while Jose was gone Jason. Problem is, his name is Jeremy.

Here's why this sucks: I used to be good with names. Scary good. As long as I heard someone's name twice, I would remember it, her face, what she was wearing when I met her, and the conversation we had, without fail, for many, many years hence. I remembered people after the most insignificant meetings and LONG after they'd forgotten me, a fact which has once or twice led to embarrassed explanations that no, I'm not a stalker, and no, you're not that famous--I'm just frighteningly good with names. Then I had two kids, and I don't care what the studies say, somehow, in between having Maggie and Marin, I lost brain cells. Many, many brain cells.

Consequently, I can't remember names or faces as well anymore, and it's driving me insane. After having kids, Diana Gabaldon claims she can still keep every single tiny fact, from eye colors to family trees, in her 1000-plus-page books straight without notes or some sort of guide. And I can't remember the name of the nice man who trimmed the lawn? Horrors. I can only hope that Diana's mental gymnastics are a sign that somehow, someday, my poor little moth-eaten brain will rejuvenate itself.

Thanks to Brenda Coulter, I may have a cure. In a recent blog entry, Brenda pointed out an article from the Guardian Online discussing how recent UK research is claiming that doing "brain exercises" like playing Sudoku or taking a shower with your eyes closed can "make us all up to 40 percent cleverer within seven days."

Once I get over my mortification at forgetting Jeremy's name, (Not Jason! Not Jason! Mental forehead smack! Not Jason!), I may give the Guardian's program a whirl. Sure, what they've provided is probably a simplified version of the actual program followed by study participants, but hey, can't hurt; might help.

Of course, the actual program also consisted of healthy eating and sound sleep, as well as the brain exercises listed below. I try to do the former, with mixed results. As for the latter, I'm completely at the mercy of Maggie and Marin on that count. But, whatever. I'm going to go to my happy place and believe that my mind might heal itself and I'm not experiencing early-onset, pregnancy-induced dementia. Without further ado, here's the quick and dirty version of the Guardian's program to boost your cleverness by 40 percent. In seven days.

Day 1: Brush your teeth with your "wrong" hand and take a shower with your eyes closed.

Day 2: Do the crossword or Sudoku puzzle in your newspaper and take a brisk walk.

Day 3: Have oily fish for dinner, and either cycle, walk or take the bus into work.

Day 4: Select unfamiliar words from the dictionary and work them into conversations.

Day 5: Go to yoga, Pilates or a meditation class, and talk to someone you don't know.

Day 6: Take a different route to work; watch Countdown or Brainteaser.

Day 7: Avoid caffeine or alcohol; memorise your shopping list.

2 comments:

The Queen-a Athena said...

Okay, these suggestions sound good, but come ON, people. For one thing, why would you WANT to eat something described as oily fish? What on earth are Countdown and Brainteaser? How can I take a different route to work when I work at home? And as for memorizing the grocery list - I spent $228 dollars at the store today. If I could do THAT from memory, I could bill myself as an idiot savant and go on stage!

Tracy Montoya said...

Oily fish sucks, Kris, but it's only for one day. I think Countdown and Brainteaser are game shows in the UK--I'm going to watch Lingo. And I've been wondering about changing my commute myself, since I telecommute. I guess I could always leap into the living room from the loft instead of taking the stairs, but I doubt if two broken legs will increase my brain power. And no one ever said how big the grocery list has to be. I'm going with short and sweet!

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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