I schedule my free time.
It’s an oxymoron to schedule or plan free time. It’s supposed to be free as its name implies. But for an organized planner like me, it works. On a big vacation where I planned many things in advance to ensure we’d fit them in, I also knew we needed time with nothing planned. So I scheduled it.
My free-spirited friends laughed at me. That’s not how it works, it defeats the purpose of free time, they chastised. But for me, it was an acknowledgment of knowing I needed to be more flexible and that’s how I did it.
Are you a planner or do you tend to go with the flow? Does the calendar or clock rule your day or do your feelings dictate your schedule? We tend to find comfort in one of two camps-organized planners or free-spirited improvisers. Regardless of which camp you’re in-both types should let go of natural dispositions and try out the other campground occasionally.
Continuing our month of letting go, this week we’re going to get uncomfortable. It’s time to step out of our comfy, natural styles to experience the other side of life. In our MemoryMinders programming, we discuss learning styles and left brained and right brained tendencies. We help our clients learn where their strengths lie because they can use this to help their mind and memory wellness.
But these strengths can also become a crutch. We get so used to doing things the comfortable way, using familiar routines, that we can lose sight of attempting the uncomfortable. Life should be enjoyed, yes, but we also need to learn and grow daily. It’s important to use our strengths, but it’s also imperative we stretch ourselves.
Striving to improve areas of weakness, trying new or different things and stepping into our discomfort causes our brain cells to stretch and grow. This, in turn, strengthens the cognitive reserve and neuroplasticity we need to withstand age-related or disease-related brain changes which occur as we age.
For the organized planner, it means being more flexible (or even scheduling in some free time!) For the free-spirited improviser, it entails planning or sticking to a schedule. I love being organized. But sometimes, going with the flow and abandoning the schedule for spontaneity stretches me. For my free-spirited friends, planning and sticking to an itinerary pushes their buttons but also grows their brains.
Stretch your brain and enjoy stepping into the uncomfortable by trying something new or strengthening a weakness. Not only will you learn something new, but you’ll see how the other camp lives and strengthen your brain simultaneously!