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Oct 07

Do you find yourself putting bananas in the laundry basket?

This morning after I poured my Cheerios into the cereal bowl, I noticed I had opened the bottom of the Cheerio box instead of the top. My first clue was seeing the box upside down on the counter with the bottom flap open.

Makes reading the cereal box at breakfast a little more challenging.

“Did I do that,” I asked my husband.

“Yes,” he replied reassuringly, “But we won’t worry until we find your car keys in the deep freeze.”

Perhaps, I should worry that my middle-aged brain is on an irreversible downward slide?

Maybe not, according to Barbara Strauch of Women’s Day magazine.

Quoting experts, she wrote a story recently about the hidden benefits of the aging brain, noting: “When it comes to most areas of cognitive performance, we’re at the top of our game in midlife, not in our 20s as many had thought.

Strauch shares an example about her online attempt at ordering a book by Paul Coelho, “The Alchemist”. She was supposed to read that title for her book club, so she ordered it at home. A few days later at work she thought, “Oh, I should order that book” (for her book club), and carefully typed in an order for “The Alchemist.”

Strauch said the problem is that the book she really needed to order was “The Archivist” by Martha Cooley.

As we age, we may also find that we unintentionally transpose the initial sounds in a pair of words or use the wrong word altogether.

Such as, introducing a friend as a “Eucalyptus” minister when we mean to say a “Eucharistic” minister.

Additionally, “spoonerisms” may begin to pepper our language much like they did for the good Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930). The term “spoonerisms” was named after him because he had a habit of getting ahead of himself with his speech.

“The Lord is a shoving leopard (loving shepherd)”, he would say to his parishioners, according to dictionary.com.

Maybe his brain was moving faster than he could speak. Happens to me all the time.

I often wonder when I make similar mistakes, especially when I type, if my brain is moving faster than my fingers or are my fingers moving faster than my brain?

The good news is, according to Barbara Strauch, “researchers have found out a great deal about what happens at middle age, which they usually define as somewhere between 40 and 68. Clearly there are some glitches. Remembering names gets harder and brain-processing speed slows down, making it harder to, say, learn to play the piano or focus on one track without getting distracted.”

What were we talking about again?

Oh, yes, our middle-aged brains.

Strauch says in many ways the brain is actually at is peak during middle age and stays there longer than any of us dared to hope.

Hmm. I’m not sure I’m buying that yet.

We all know what it is to have a half-warmed fish, uh, half-formed wish.

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