Of late, the idea of a “boot camp” to get in physical shape has become fashionable. I’m not going to argue that it is not a good idea. Just after leaving the school at which I last taught, an exercise boot camp was established in the afternoons in order to reduce insurance premiums. This was obviously a successful program as I know of at least one former colleague in the 50+ age range who lost 50+ pounds.
I’ve mentioned in several posts about my desire to lose weight, but I think a brain boot camp is in order also.
You’ve heard the expression “use it or lose it,” and I believe this is true. During my approximate 15 years where I was mostly a stay-at-home mom, I don’t think I exercised my brain on an adult level enough. While focused on helping the children develop their brains, I let mine go to mush. Don’t get me wrong. When ready to enter back into the world of academia, I took the GRE “cold turkey” and did very well despite the fact that I had not taken a college class in 25 years. Yet, I knew that I was not as sharp as I had been. I don’t want a similar thing to happen while I am not currently engaged in teaching. I will do my required professional development to keep my teaching credentials in tact, but I want to go above and beyond only the required; I want to expand my mind; I want to be engaged in a brain boot camp of sorts.
Later this month there is a writers’ workshop being held in Nashville. It is the 8th Annual Killer Nashville Conference – a writers’ workshop geared toward writing murder mysteries, and I am registered to attend. Hopefully, I will be challenged mentally while also learning new skills that I can apply to my current explorations and may also be able to use in classroom teaching, should I decide to return to that later on. I’m viewing this three-day conference as the first of what I hope will be monthly opportunities for being mentally engaged and stimulated – mini brain boot camps, if you will.
What do you do to keep your mind sharp and expand your mental horizons?
Have a blessed and happy day!