Monday, February 4, 2013

Brain Retrain

Ouch! What did I do to my shoulder this time?  I’m having a flare-up of bursitis, making range of motion in my arm very painful.  It could have happened because I haven’t been to yoga in weeks, or perhaps because I lifted a 5-pound weight wrong.  Or, maybe it’s just this aging thing.  Whatever it is now I have to nurse the arm, and that means using it as little as possible. 

It’s no wonder that the old arm is wearing out.  For 50 years I’ve been overusing it.  I’m right-handed; why would I ever consider using the left?.  But, as I was vacuuming the house the other day I used my left hand.  It was then I realized that my left side had been underutilized all these years; it was time it pulled its weight. 
They say the brain needs to be challenged to keep us young.  So, Lefty, are you up for the challenge?  It won't be easy; using my left hand feels so foreign.  I started to notice that I choose sides for lots of things: I chew on the left side of the mouth, part my hair on the right; old habits are hard to break.  But the neglect of my left hand is more than just habit. 

I grew up with the impression that being left-handed was taboo.  I’m not sure where I got that message, but a quick Internet search proves that left-handedness was an undesirable “choice” and that had to be broken in children, just another example of misinformation that results in the pressure put on kids to change what comes naturally to them.

I won't mind teaching myself a new way of doing things, so while my right shoulder heals, my left hand and arm will have to chip in.  It's like having a whole new set to work with, right?  Just don't ask me to autograph my new book with the left.  I'll need plenty of Alleve for that task.

So, here's to the new me and a new brain! 


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