What a relief… it’s not necessarily incipient Alzheimer’s, dementia or worse! It’s probably not even a sign of a deteriorating brain or loss of memory. It’s completely normal that my middle-aged brain is slow on the up-take, stops me from remembering movie stars’ names and prevents me from recalling what I was looking for in the basement. Not only does Barbara Strauch in her book The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind give me science-backed reassurance that my 60 something brain is still O.K., her words also inspire me with her report of the things my brain can do better now, or even new things it couldn’t do before!
The bad news: what’s getting worse?
Brain processing speed
Ability to focus
Ability to filter out distractions
A little fuzzy on details
The good news: What’s getting better?
Our brains make more accurate judgements about people, finance, and the world
We grow happier; the positive wins over the negative
Middle aged brains adapt: our brains power up, not down and use more of themselves to solve problems
Our brains build up patterns of connections allowing us to instantly recognize similarities of situations and see solutions
We more easily grasp the big picture…the gist of things
We gain a growing ability to link odd things together to form new associations that can lead to more creativity:
Conclusion: DISTRACTIBILITY MAY BE AN IMPORTANT INGREDIENT OF CREATIVITY!
Stauch describes the middle aged brain as “ripe, ready, and whole.” Unfortunately, the world may see the middle-aged brain as “diminished, declining, and depressed.”