Fast and Slow

32 years ago, during my first attempt at college, I was unable to focus on a teacher’s lecture..

As soon as they started talking, it was like a switch turned on in my brain and my imagination took off.. The teacher’s voice was nothing more than white noise. If I took notes at all – they were single words, words the teacher said loud enough or repeated enough times to get through my block. My brain buzzed, constantly. Full of dreams and story ideas. Full of boys and sex. What if’s and hopefully’s. There was no slowing down for a lecture.

Today, I sit in class and the teacher’s voice is all I hear. My brain is calm, focused. My imagination, as vivid as ever, is channeled into curiosity about what I’m learning.

My 50 year old brain feels slow compared to how it was at 20.

A slow brain sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not. It means I’m not missing anything. It means the I’m able to capture not only the important words but also their meaning in my notes. When I think back to college, version 1, I’m sure the lectures weren’t uninteresting, I’m sure the teachers weren’t boring. The problem was an inability to be still. In inability to calmly absorb instead of stimulate with constant creation.

Now I can sit still, and soak in the present. I can listen without talking. I’m here, in this moment, absorbing all of it. My brain has slowed down, and has given me so much more to think about. I don’t regret that fun, buzzy time. But I don’t miss it either.