Writer’s Name: JC Gardner
Title: A Mind is a Terrible thing to Waste
Reading has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a child, I devoured Dr. Seuss books and still remember many parts of my favorite Seuss book, “A Fly Went By.” As I got older, I gravitated towards Pippy Longstocking’s escapades and Nancy Drew’s mysteries. Transitioning into adulthood and even today, I read many different authors, although I’m more of a fiction kind of gal. I like to disappear into other people’s realities, lose myself in their problems, triumphs, defeats, love, lust and deceit.
I also love word games. My smart phone is home to several apps that challenge me to make as many words as possible from a group of misfit letters before the time is up.
As a writer, reading is second nature. My second full-time job was in New York as an Editorial Assistant at Bantam, Doubleday, Dell Publishing. I worked for the Editor-in-Chief, a tough, no-nonsense female boss who spoke her mind daily, for better or for worse. Some days her demeanor left a lot to be desired; however, through her gruffness, she often imparted words of wisdom in a manner that made it sound like you better listen and take heed.
Two of her little nuggets stuck with me through the years. One had to do with the proper way to resign from a job. The other had to do with reading. She told me to read something every day, even if it was the back of a cereal box. Reading is knowledge. Reading keeps your brain active, and you can never know too much information. You’d also be surprised what’s in that healthy cereal you’re eating!
I took those words to heart and when I had my own children, we would go on field trips to the bookstore or the library, and they knew they could not leave empty handed. They had to find something to read. Encouraging youth to read at a young age also helps to prepare them for school. Being literate should not be an option; it should be a requirement that starts from home and then fortifies what is taught in school.
I know several people, including family members, who have suffered from the mind-robbing disease of Alzheimer’s. My dear, precious granny suffered from this horrible sickness, as well as two of her sisters. Although they lived to be in their eighties (and in my grandmother’s case, ninety-two), their bodies were here, but their minds were gone. Could reading have saved them?
Of course, if it were that simple, the disease would be eradicated. But studies have shown that people who do activities, such as reading, puzzles, or chess, are less likely to develop the disease.1 Watching television just doesn’t affect the brain the same way – no surprise there. If this simple task will help you age better, why not take a few minutes to activate your mind each day?
The old adage, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” speaks volumes of truth. Don’t let yours sit idle. If you are not into reading lengthy novels, then find a magazine that speaks your language. I am amazed at how many magazines there are in print – from wrestling to knitting – I’m sure there is one out there for you.