Monday, August 24, 2009

It's right, but feels so wrong

Being sound in mind and body takes work, especially as we age. Healthcare experts now advocate exercising your brain. This can take a variety of forms, from crossword puzzles to learning a new skill to using your opposite hand for common tasks.

If these things truly rejuvenate your brain, I should be good to go for another decade or so. My husband and I just got back from two weeks in Ireland where we tackled a bunch of brain-taxing skills:
  • Driving on the opposite side of the road. On the opposite side of the car. Shifting with the opposite hand.
  • Navigating in a place where the streets have no names. Or, if they do, they're not posted anywhere.
  • Reconciling the differences in directions given by a Garmin GPS, Ordnance Survey maps, and locals.
  • Dodging cows, sheep, and buses on narrow, rock-wall lined roads, which are more like foot paths.
It was all a little scary, but we survived with nary a scratch to animal or vehicle. And now we should be reaping the benefits to our brains for years to come.

If you're inclined to give this a try, you should first read up on Irish driving. One good source is "Surviving Driving in Ireland" by Rick Steeves. Then be bold and take the wheel -- the right-hand drive wheel. It may feel wrong, but it's the right way to go.

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