Saturday, October 24, 2009

Learning in the Twilight Years

Damn, old age sucks sometimes. First the body goes and you can't jump fences anymore, and then, the brain begins it's down hill slide. It's like an old car that still wants to run, but the gas has a hard time getting from the carburetor to the engine. You find yourself right in the middle of traffic and the damn thing wants to choke down.

In my younger days I was too busy having babies and raising kids to worry much about improving my mind or learning anything new. I was content to read the occasional novel or recipe book and use my own education to help my children attain theirs. Finally when my nest was at last empty,and after all those years of answering questions, helping with homework and teaching life's lessons, I let myself get mentally lazy, only using my brain when absolutely necessary and for the most mundane purposes.

Now I've reached my twilight years and the desire to learn has awakened with a ferocious appetite. I can't get enough. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. One subject leads to another, and that one leads to another and that one to another and on and on it goes. If I'm not careful, I find myself far from my original starting point, simply by following an infinite path of information that has so many branches you can get lost just trying to decide which of them to take.

But as I've aged my lazy habits from the past have come back to haunt me and I'm finding it very difficult to concentrate and retain what I read. Sometimes it takes me days to absorb something I should be able to take in in a few hours. Although I don't plan on leaving this life any time soon, I feel I've reached my summit and by looking down I can see the end. It may not happen for another 20 years, it may happen tomorrow, but either way, I want to learn as much as I can before the Dark Goddess comes to escort me across the veil.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
~Albert Einstein ~

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