So here I was sound asleep in my comfortable bed when suddenly I was shattered awake by these two words: Hoyt Axton. That’s all, just Hoyt Axton. I had just dozed off.
I’m sure this happens to you. My wife and I were discussing a song earlier that evening we had heard and were trying to come up with the name of the singer. This happens now and then. Our minds just seem to turn off. We try but just cannot remember things. Then, usually much later and for no apparent reason, the answer comes out of the blue. Immediately on hearing the name, I remembered both the song and the singer. My wife and I are and have been big fans of Hoyt, but this has nothing to do with him; it has more to do with our brains. Make that our aging brains. Oh, and getting shattered awake.
Most of the time it’s the simplest things that cause us to stumble. I think I have discovered the cause. I call it brain clutter.
When we are young we spend most of our time taking in knowledge. We are learning the whys and hows of life. We are students. We retain that information for when it might come in handy. The problem is as we grow older, we continue to take in information and retain it. Our brains begin to look like an overstuffed suitcase. The older we get the more cluttered our brains become. I just received a forward which dealt with this. It was a group of cheerleaders yelling, “What do we want? Better memory. When do we want it? Want what?”
Now I am not making fun of memory loss or the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. I know from personal experience the tragedy of those problems. My own father was an Alzheimer’s patient. What I am talking about is just the natural aging process and how our minds are sometimes affected. And sometimes it’s funny. Like being awakened in the middle of the night with an answer to a question I had already forgotten. Both my wife and I will sometimes walk into a room and for a moment wonder why we are there. We both have our routines. Like when she is fixing breakfast, you never want to interrupt her with questions about, for example, dinner. That could throw her off completely and she has to start over.
One of my big issues is the garage door. I will often take my car out of the garage, back out into the street, drive away, then wonder as I get down the road if I closed the garage door. Sometimes I will even have to drive back by to see if it’s closed. Life becomes quite automatic.
I have read quite a bit about this aging process and our ability to keep our brains strong and active. I work crossword puzzles and my wife does the Sudoku puzzles. It’s supposed to keep us sharp. I write these columns every week and she proofs them. Those are very good exercises as well. Somebody once told me walnuts are good brain food. But they make you fat. Which is better? To be lean and forgetting everything or fat with a memory of everything, especially the foods that made you fat?
So then I am left with this question: Which is a better choice, a cluttered mind that sometimes forgets stuff, or just to be empty-headed? I think I will go with the clutter.