26 January 2005


Two days ago, noted NYTimes columnist (and a personal favorite of mine) William Safire wrote his farewell column and advice to all his readers. He titled it 'Never Retire'.

After writing more than 3,000 columns and at 75 years old, you would probably expect he was retiring and writing that farewell column was to be expected. Well, according to him, he is NOT retiring. He's just --- let's say --- shifting careers. He is set to take over the chairmanship of the Dana Foundation, a "private philanthropic organization with interests in science, health, and education," which was founded in 1950.

And you know what? I think he's right.

You can be 50, 60, 75, or even past-80, and you may be entertaining thoughts of retiring. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs a rest or a sabbatical after a lifetime of hanging out with the ratpack and working our derrieres to kingdom come. But one thing we should never do is to retire our minds. We should always have it running no matter what.

To illustrate, read this news item:

Minds in Motion Stay Sharp
By Kathleen Fackelmann, USA TODAY
Posted: 1/25/2005 2:18 PM

At 87, Katie Johnson is convinced she has a surefire way to ward off Alzheimer's: the fox trot.

The retired schoolteacher spends every other Friday fox-trotting the night away.

She also swims five days a week. She teaches piano at a local senior center. She attends Bible study classes. She plays Scrabble and bridge.

And she tools around Indianapolis in a red Corvette.

Research suggests those nights spent whirling around the dance floor and days motoring around town in her snappy car probably are increasing Johnson's chances of avoiding the dreaded disease of debilitating memory loss.

The best Alzheimer's prevention might be this simple: Go have fun.

[USA Today]

You can rest, but you must always find ways to exercise your mind while growing old.

Do crossword puzzles, play a musical instrument of your choice, engage in card games, mahjong, or bingo, go out with your friends, make friends if you don't have anyone, do ballroom dancing, play tennis or badminton, read a lot, walk a lot, or think of a wholesome brain activity that will keep your mind busy.

While it is true that the suggestions above cannot cure Alzheimer's, clinical studies have shown that engaging your mind in a gamut of leisure activities CAN DELAY the onset of this dreadful disease.

There are also studies indicating that if we continuously challenge our mind power by learning new things like learning to play a new musical instrument or learning to speak a new language, we build some sort of "reserved brain power," which we can use later on as a hedge for the onslaught of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Use it or lose it.

What's it going to be?

0 reactions: