First of all, yes, I just wanted to use the word impotence in the title of the post. Let’s all just giggle a little bit about that word and the fact that I made a play on words by not using the word “importance.”
Alright, back with me? Good.
I don’t know how you all form your reading schedules, but I tend to oscillate between fiction and nonfiction on a pretty regular basis. Maybe about 60/30 to fiction/non. I’m all about stories, but history and science have some amazing stories of their own.
Right now, I’m going to take a break from science fiction and hit you with some science fact that I found really interesting. I’ve been reading this really cool book called Keep Your Brain Alive by Lawrence Katz, which is actually more of a novelette. The (extremely simplified) premise is that brain function doesn’t necessarily deteriorate because of old age. It’s because we stop using it.
Now I know many of you have seen the presidential race going on at the moment and seen evidence of this, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What happens is, as we use the effective schema and routine that allow us to be hyper-productive species, we actually atrophy the part of our brain that develops new connections.
As it happens, that part is the important part. Why? Because doing something new and interesting actually feeds your brain. That act of new connections, new associations, and new sensations, creates neurotrophins, which can quite literally be considered brain food. They’re nutrients produced to promote brain growth and keep your brain healthy. When you stop doing new things, you start starving your brain.
So: Routine isn’t just boring. Routine is actually killing you.
The bottom line? Here’s some scientific evidence for the “stop and smell the roses” trope. Give yourself the permission you’ve always wanted to give yourself: BE WEIRD. Indulge in activities for random, senseless purposes (unless it’s violence, don’t do violence). Do things differently every once in a while. Don’t let life pass you by just because you’ve done something similar a couple of thousand times. Make a change! It doesn’t have to be huge or significant on a global scale. It’s not about that; it’s about changing the way you think about approaching your daily life. Adopting a mentality that says you won’t accept hapless routine will, I think, make you see the world in a totally new way.