Author Jackie Madden Haugh talks about using your brainHave you ever walked into a room on a mission only to find you have no idea why you came in the first place? For me it’s a constant battle. My blind eyes never see because my glasses are lost on top of my head. The car won’t start because I’ve misplaced my keys usually in a black hole I call my purse, and my four children are close to disowning me because I tell them the same story over and over. But my worst offense is I never get their names straight.

Okay, every parent does this from time to time. We start one of our tirades and our tongues spit faster than thinking first. But how do you forget the only male nestled among three sisters? I’m sure he’s developing an identity crisis and will spend his later years in therapy.

Late at night, I often wonder if I’m totally losing it. Once upon a time I was sharp. I could dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s.” But mid-life crept in, and like an army of one-eyed monsters from another planet, my brain was swept away on their mother ship for galaxies unknown.

I’m fearful I’m developing dementia, or worse, but when I think of what I deal with day-to-day, I’m shocked I remember anything at all. What between the check-off list at my job at Alain Pinel Realtors, caring for my ninety-five-year-old father, calming my children’s occasional emotional out bursts (along with my own personal challenges), I’m shocked I can think at all. So what’s a woman to do before her family completely disowns her?

One day it dawned on me. Just like every other muscle in our body, I needed to exercise my brain before it atrophied. Unfortunately, I can’t take it out of my head, throw it on a treadmill and retrieve it forty-five minutes later all pumped up. But the answer is quite simple. To make my mind look like Super Woman, all I have to do is stimulate it with thought.

First I began with the enjoyable task of reading. Then I took a writing class. Before I knew it, I found myself in the middle of heated conversations regarding politics and religion. Talk about a mind marathon. But the best place to pump my mental iron is trapped in my car.

Locked away in my Chrysler Sebring, I turn off the radio and let my mind wander to my past, how I feel about life and finally, to what I truly want. These quiet moments help connect me with me. And when there’s a traffic jam, I have no time for road rage. I’m too busy solving the problems of the world.

Technology helps us stay informed, but what about keeping in touch with the most important person in the world – you? Learn to let you mind go. Relish your memories and allow yourself to dream. With all this mental stimulation, who knows what you’ll conquer. You might even be able to remember your children’s names.