I was very fortunate this weekend to be able to visit with my brother, his wife and their kids in Halifax. It was a busy and fun time with the boys, aged 7 and 4, tree hunting, skating, and taking in a basketball game. Best of all was talking, laughing, and meals eaten together.
Time spent together, fully attentive to the conversation or task at hand, is important. In a world where our attention is lured by so many things, being able to be “in the moment” is powerful and healthy. I recall as a child having time to hear stories from family and friends, play games and work on puzzles, and I realize now that I took it for granted.
On Sunday, I was reading some articles and came across one post entitled The Mystery of the Mind 5 Creative Ways To Stay Sharp As A Tack, and I have to admit I was troubled: not so much by what I read, but by the way the information was positioned to promote mental acuity. The article, citing the benefits of storytelling, mysteries, games and puzzles, and spending time with others as a “fix” made it seem that we needed a reason to do these things. The author wrote, “As we age, we need activities to help boost mental agility and sharpen our focus. Think of it like the need for physical activity. The more we exercise our brains, the more they are able to take on a new challenge and withstand the test of time.” To me, we need these things not simply to exercise our brains but to be happy, connected and close.
After a weekend spent with family, I may have exercised my brain, but what is far more important to me is that I filled my heart, connected with family, and feel so much better for it.