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#341335 - 03/09/11 08:48 AM Getting Stupider and Stupider....
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11444
Loc: Central NH
I have a serious question for you guys... though I'm sure it'll be folly for joking as well. I've been wondering about it for a few years, though I've never really talked about it with anyone except making a joke about it with Joyce or a few others.

I think I'm getting stupider and I don't know if it's normal or common.

Maybe it's age. Maybe there's lead in my water. Maybe it's simply a matter of always being "too busy"...and having to deal with all the f**king trees and not having the time to give any attention to the forest.

I used to listen to music...absorbing every note. Now I can't listen to more than a few songs all the way through without my mind wandering. I used to be a voracious reader, and now I just can't concentrate. I used to edit video for hours and hours, and now I find I need to check my email or just walk away after 30 minutes. Yet I can work in my woodshop for hours and hours, forgetting to even eat.

It's not simply a matter of short attention span. I cringe and feel physically recoiled and anxious when I have to read IRS documents or contracts. My vocabulary has shrunk considerably (though that's probably my lack of reading over the last decade).

I used to consider myself quick-witted. Though I can occasionally come up with an amusing one-liner here, I can't do it quickly in conversation anymore. I need a minute or two to think about it. I need a thesaurus and a few minutes without interruption to read some of Bob's posts. HE truly makes me feel stupid! smile

It sounds like adult ADD. But maybe it IS just an age thing or maybe I truly DO have too many balls in the air.

Yes, I'll bring it up with my doctor at my appointment next month. But I can't help wondering if others are experiencing the same.

Anyone else here notice these things as they get older? Are we all just too f**king busy?

I checked my received email twice, got another cup of coffee, peed and looked at my list of "Things to Do" (I have 106 items on there!) once while composing this short post!



Edited by MarkSJohnson (03/09/11 08:49 AM)
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#341338 - 03/09/11 09:13 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: MarkSJohnson]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7463
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Mark, I've been kinda mulling this around lately, too. Like you, I find my attention span getting shorter and my ability to focus on tasks diminishing. Not only that, but remembering certain things and retaining info is taxing.

My work keeps me plenty busy, juggling many balls and having too many things spinning around my head. The last couple of years I have had a hard time letting all of it go when I'm home and not at work.

I've been a reader for the majority of my life and have almost always had a book nearby. Years ago I went through a spell where I didn't read much. So, in an effort to make myself cognizant of the fact that I NEED to read I started keeping a tally of how many books I read each year. It's just for me. Not to say "Look at me and all that I read!" but a way to keep myself focused on the simple act of making time for it. Sometimes it takes care of itself, like with one of those good books you can't put down. Other times I force myself to turn off the TV and put nothing else in front of me except for reading time.

Last week, I kinda went through the same thing with music listening. My normal routine is to sit down in my listening spot and work crosswords while the music is on. Lately I've been kinda going through the motions--rushing through things and just getting it done, rather than enjoying it for what it is. I consciously told myself to slow down, to give the music its time to work and to let myself get drawn into it. Also, I told myself, I didn't HAVE to finish the crossword, but to work on it and not be discouraged if I didn't get it done. It would still be there next time.

In a sense, I think I prioritized my relaxing time. I needed to do it. I think this works with many things in our life. Our downtime is important and often we need to treat it as such.

Yes, I'm still a bit of a scatterbrain, but I'm working on it!

And you know? We are bombarded with too many things to do in our down time nowadays--music, movies, tv, video games, internet, reading, hobbies, whatever. It's hard to pick one and go with it and enjoy it for what it is. Not a time waster, but an involving process we love.
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#341340 - 03/09/11 09:20 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: St_PatGuy]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7463
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
And, Mark, as to your woodworking, I think we have those hobbies or past-times or loves that are transcendent and we key into them so easily we get into that alpha wave state and lose track of everything. The laser like focus comes naturally and the hours pass like minutes.
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"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#341342 - 03/09/11 09:53 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: St_PatGuy]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6893
Loc: It's all about the location.
There must be something in the air, lol. I find myself second guessing quite a bit over the last couple of years, esp in conversation, opinion or giving friends advice....so here's my advice, my friend....you're at a stage in your life where you've become comfortable and perhaps you just need some new challenges. Here's one...try making an L-shaped granite countertop in your basement and try to get it up to the kitchen to install it cry . I think we just need to keep busy one way or another, with hobbies, family, projects ect...either that, or your having a mid-life crisis and need to buy yourself a 911 or someth'n.
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Half of communication is listening. You can't listen with your mouth.

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#341343 - 03/09/11 09:56 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: St_PatGuy]
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1177
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Well Mark, I'm in the same boat. But add to that, exhaustion, and being overwhelmed when I have to deal with more than 2 things at once(or overly complex thought processes). And more often than not, I walk around with what I can best describe as "brain fog". I forget things on a daily basis. Everything is to a point where it is affecting my job and family life. (Just one of the reasons I don't post here like I did 6 or 7 years ago)
Anyway, I went to the doctor and a couple things came out of it. I am 20 lbs overweight, I have sleep apnea, and have high blood pressure. My CPAP machine helps, and I would say I've seen a 10 to 15 percent improvement from that. (It is nowhere near enough, though) Still working on the weight and blood pressure......
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Shawn

Epic 80/600 + M3's + M3 Algonquins + M2 Computer + EP125
I think I'm developing an addiction.

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#341347 - 03/09/11 10:17 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: St_PatGuy]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6471
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Originally Posted By: St_PatGuy
... I think we have those hobbies or past-times or loves that are transcendent and we key into them so easily we get into that alpha wave state and lose track of everything. The laser like focus comes naturally and the hours pass like minutes.

You have very nicely described Flow, the psychology concept. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the thought leader in this area and written some really cool books if anyone is looking to dive in deep.

See, Sean, you're a natural! Welcome to the psych club. BobKay will teach you the secret handshake.
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Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

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#341349 - 03/09/11 10:22 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: real80sman]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
Mark, I feel the same way. Don't know what to do about it. I'm sure I need more exercise, but I don't seem to ever make it a priority. I've kind of attributed the whole bit to "getting older" but I'm certainly not happy about it.
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#341353 - 03/09/11 10:28 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: tomtuttle]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6471
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Your mild protests are duly noted.
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Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

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#341354 - 03/09/11 10:30 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: tomtuttle]
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1177
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:
See, Sean, you're a natural! Welcome to the psych club. BobKay will teach you the secret handshake


So the blood pressure meds my doc wants to put me on are the completely wrong ones? laugh
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Shawn

Epic 80/600 + M3's + M3 Algonquins + M2 Computer + EP125
I think I'm developing an addiction.

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#341357 - 03/09/11 10:34 AM Re: Getting Stupider and Stupider.... [Re: MarkSJohnson]
BobKay Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 3596
Loc: Massachusetts Badlands
Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
I need a thesaurus and a few minutes without interruption to read some of Bob's posts. HE truly makes me feel stupid! smile


It's not you, it's me! 90% of the time, I'm just trying to make you (anybody) laugh a bit. Every thought I have is so dense, so bombarded by every association my synapses can find, that it can get rather lugubrious. (For me as well as you!) Sorry.

If any of you had had to come up with a new 3-hour lecture 3 times a week for 2 decades, it'd change your writing/speech as well. I was also the chief writer for my museums, from exhibiton catalogs to PSA's. So, it's just that I've done it my for so long. Like any of you, it is simply being adept and proficient at what you've done for so long.

As for fading mental capacity, everyone over 40 is aboard the Andrea Doria with you. Of course, it's always a matter of degree and none of us is the same.

The problem isn't your memory or your perception that you're not as quick. It's that you're torturing yourself over it (now there's someplace that I AM an expert).

Your MD is of no use to you here. He/she won't ever admit that, but no MD should ever be making psych evaluations or prescribing psych drugs---not one of them.

Men are terrible at managing their mental health, because mental health care is an admission of weakness, or worse. So choose---weakness or disfunction. Once again, "disfunction" is a matter of degree. One is not able to assess that for themselves. You can't know how much of your life is or isn't being compromised, nor exactly how.

Where does the issue you're dealing with cross the line into depression? The options for addressing that are are more plentiful than ever and there really is something, or some combo, to help just about everyone.

And psych drugs aren't going to mask the real you--- not the right drugs at the right dosage. And listen up everyone. Psych med success w/o oversight by a therapist is a pipe dream.

You're way ahead of the game. You've identified that you aren't as happy as you think you should be and you're planning to investigate. I think that puts you in the 99th percentile.

To expect recall across the span of even your adult life gets tougher every year. Remember, we're guys. We peaked at 18.
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Always call the place you live a house. When you're old, everyone else will call it a home.

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