Saturday, August 24, 2013

Baby Boomer Memory: To Remember or Not To Remember...I forgot, what was the question?


            I turned 60-years-old about four months ago.  Since that day, I noticed my body rebelling; pain in every joint, especially when I woke up.  I still worked as a process manager in the oil fields; granted not turning wrenches or climbing up oil derricks or slinging tongs; waking up at 3:30 in the morning in the outskirts of Bakersfield California, travelling in a company pickup four to five hours a day through a network of pipes, expansion loops, tank batteries, water plants, processing and pumping units.

            At my age, I realized energy levels weren’t what they used to be; health not to be taken for granted or ignored.  Originally, I thought of retiring but found with blood pressure and arthritic conditions, I needed to work to keep health benefits.  No matter how much I had in a pension plan, a major health event without health insurance would zap everything I owned.  Considering myself relative fit (aside from aforementioned diagnoses), I felt it prudent to give it a go for another 10 years or so, good health not withstanding. 

            With that said, I decided to renew my daily practice of Yang Chen Fu Long Form. About a year ago, I abandoned this practice due to having to wake up early and meet the demands of my work.  Instead I practiced shorter forms and complemented the routine with manageable Qigong.  Those who learned Long Form attest 108 slow sequential steps required deep concentration and intent.  Mind you, I learned this form in 1976 expecting to have this engrained deep in my subconscious; not a true statement, at least for me.  As a person who reached the big six-oh, remembering tended to be problematic.  I experienced problems getting through the form without making mistakes, partly because of ambivalence perhaps laziness, not wanting to push myself to remember and hoped that a routine would get me through the exercise.

            So I read this quick blog.  It addressed the subject of memory and what we as baby boomers could do to stay mentally sharp and it bascially said was to challenge our brains; read more, play with cross word puzzles, write in journals, engage in brain teasers, learn a new language and push limits.  I read that one gentleman learned five new words of a foreign language each day.  Wow.  I'd say, we old folks got to get out of our lazy chairs and get both mind and bodies moving.  Any less meant giving up to the debilitating effects of old age.

            Since I had not practiced this form in a year, it wasn't easy getting through it.  Thank God for the internet because instead of reading old hand written notes, I learned from others and within a short period of time, I picked it up.  Easy?  No.  But it did fire up a lazy brain. 

            Right before I wrote this post, I practiced the form about seven times in a row.  Each time, I made mistakes, mostly not remembering.

            In the past, I admonished myself and chalked it up to old age.

            Today, I’m using it to keep me young and healthy. 

            What are you going to do?
The following is a classic video of a Tai Chi Master Lu Guo Ming performing the form. It's not all of it, but you can see it's a nice challenge to meet up each and every day for good mental and physical health.


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