Sometime in the fall of 2017, I came across a story on how to keep mentally fit. Similar to physical fitness, I'd have to believe it's better to keep myself sharp as of now, rather than try to rebuild mental facilities a few decades from now. Trying to retrieve when/where/device/journal I got this nugget from isn't bearing fruit. [* note to self, maybe I've started losing some of the sharpness to my blade already]. Most of the suggestions number from half to less than a dozen, to include:
- no smoking and moderation of alcohol
- maintain good physical health
- consider taking up a new skill, eg knitting or a new language
- maintain reasonable stress levels
- teach & work with people
To review, let's see where I stood:
- stopped both when I turned 30 (yes, that was a tough year)
- let's discuss this in 2019 after my 2018 resolutions have been fulfilled
- likely I should focus on getting much better with le francais because I clearly have 2 left hands if you've ever seen my handwriting which likely means I should not try knitting
- I'm a Realtor, which means "reasonable stress levels" are a challenging goal
- okay....lets do this one, let's teach the world things
For the past 3-4 years, I've been with Toastmasters, which I believe I continue to pursue precisely because it forces me to not think about Real Estate for 90 minutes per week. It's also inspirational to see how quickly people grow and learn their inner strength & find confidence. A number of the veterans have become friends, but since this is a Capitol Hill group, there is a continual merry go round of people who are in/out within less than a year as their jobs bring them here and them send them away. Working with all these newbies is a pleasure and keeps me sharp as I continue to teach people. While this is good, this only satisfies one of the bullet points in most strategies to stay mentally agile.
These thoughts were percolating when I received an invitation to become a real estate instructor. This Toastmasters gig made it so that I didn't immediately laugh and hang up the phone. Rather, I asked them to check back in with me in a day or two when I wasn't in the middle of competing thoughts and driving, such that I could interview them a bit more.
Now, two months later, I am still in process. My college transcripts were provided electronically the very same morning I requested them (not quite as quick as I recall they did these 30+ years ago when they would be snail mailed to me). Maryland's letters of good standing arrived within days. DC's letters of good standing were ordered by a written letter in early December (per their request) and I've been told they have been mailed to me now, which means I'll have them within 5 weeks if they come in this week, though there were holidays and to be fair, this is DC. I'd be teaching in Virginia and they already have my standing, this complete the set of required documents.
My reason for writing this is I'd like to hear other people's experiences here. With hours being a finite resource, is the benefit to my mental razor sharpness worth a few hours a week. Are there benefits, or consequences which I've not considered?
Do I jump over and start teaching, do I lay aside a few hours a week. Maybe even at the cost of missing one or two Nationals baseball games this summer. Does slightly altering what I do in this profession help me be better at the profession?
At the moment, my expectations are that I'll jump in and do it. If I enjoy it, I do it again. And again. If not, then I don't repeat. Being razor sharpness does allow me to make smart decisions and not repeat foolish mistakes. If only to clearly know which way this will roll.
(photo from Harvard Health Blog, 2012 11 05)